Salt Bea, real name Nusret Gökçe is a Turkish chef and restaurateur who became famous in the world through a viral video of him sprinkling salt on his steaks, watched over 17 million times. I think this act alone, just tells us a lot about the world we live in. These days, you don’t need to invent anything, become exceptionally good at something changing the world, to become famous. You just need a bit of luck, sprinkle some salt on a piece of meat with a lot of grace, and boom, you can become an internet sensation, just like that.
Now, obviously, he took advantage of this fact that he became known and opened a bunch of restaurants over the next few years after things went viral.
Most recently he opened a new restaurant in London and my newsfeed has been filled with media stories about the place. Many say that the prices there are insane, people sharing pictures of their bills. One customer who posted a bill to social media commented “that’s just taking the piss”. The final bill was £37,000, over $50,000 for 4 people.
A Tomahawk Stake “coated in gold” costs a whooping £850, this is roughly $1160. Jimi Famurewa writer, editor, podcaster, and Evening Standard’s chief restaurant critic slammed the place saying things like: “having visited recently and actually paid my own exorbitant bill — the one thing that won’t arrive, no matter how long you wait, will be the moment that anything at Nusr-Et Steakhouse London comes close to justifying the hype, the weirdly devoted following or those disdainfully inflated prices. Not the drab, supermarket-worthy sushi. Not the sloppy creamed spinach that (ironically enough) lacks basic seasoning. And not the £100 gold-wrapped burger that — just for sheer mick-taking chutzpah measured against taste — may genuinely be the capital’s worst.”
Ok, so we know already that many who decided to dine at Salt Beas’s newest London venue say some harsh things – insanely overpriced, mostly mediocre food, etc. The restaurant’s reviews seem ok, 4.6 stars on Google at the moment of writing. However, they have been also accused of “deleting bad reviews” lately. The restaurant chain faced controversies before. This year, five employees sued Salt Bae’s restaurant chain over alleged unpaid overtime pay. In 2019, four of Gökçe’s former employees accused him of getting a share of their tips. They alleged that they were fired from his New York restaurant when they complained about it. The case was settled and ex-employees were paid $230,000.
Stealing tips from your waiters don’t sound nice for someone making millions of his restaurants. In another case, Salt Bae was found guilty of verbally accusing one of his employees. According to Daily Mail, one of his employees sat female customers with male customers at the same table. This infuriated Gökçe and he shouted at the staff member: ‘Did you sit the women there you pimp, are you selling women in my restaurant? I will kill you, f*** off, I am firing you.’ Overall, he seems like a nice guy to work for (sarcasm).
The opening of the restaurant in London went viral on social media, with people being outraged about the prices.
Of course, for most regular people it is inconceivable to spend $50,000 on a meal with some drinks for 4 people. Many people living in London don’t earn that much in a year. That is true, however, we need to acknowledge the fact that he charges as much as he likes because of his fame and this fame came from people bored online who made him go viral. This phenomenon tells us a lot about the world we live in. How smart people make money of dumb people, basically.
Typically, stuff that goes viral these days is not very intellectually stimulating. In my 11 years online, creating and curating online content I noticed that the dumber the content the higher the chance is that it will go viral. Most of the viral things fade as quickly as they come. However, with Salt Bea’s phenomenon, this is not the case. One thing you have to admit, the guy is smart, he took advantage of the moment and now is able to make tons of money from that viral sensation, building an empire of overpriced restaurants and getting tons of free publicity. It really shows how “smart people take advantage of dumb people”. Which is a very common thing in the history of this planet. If people wouldn’t be wasting their brainpower on consuming dumb content online, such a phenomenon wouldn’t take place, right? It is really a byproduct of collective behavior.
My message to everyone complaining about how ridiculous it is. We can’t really complain as we created it collectively as with many other things. You have to give a person credit for the fact that they can take advantage of some viral phenomenon in such a clever way. It is a reflection of the state of mind of people who make it go viral and those willing to spend the money in the restaurants like this as well.
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