My favorite restaurant-rating site is MyFab5.
It's simple. It's clear. It's useful.
It asks users to name five restaurants in various categories, like best pizza by the slice, and to add Instagram photos of the places. In short, it's designed to recommend restaurants, not necessarily steer people away.
As MyFab5 slices and dices info from its users, it is diving deeply into Instagram data.
MyFab5 has released a list of the 10 most Instagrammed Philadelphia restaurants in 2014. MyFab5 counted the number of Instagram photos posted at each restaurant in the city.
Instagram, which has no business relationship with MyFab5, allows the company to see/count photos that were tagged to the location and posted by a public Instagram account.
Co-founder and CEO Omeid Seirafi-Pour says MyFab5 prevents restaurant owners/managers/employees from cheating by only counting 25 pictures from a particular user at a particular restaurant. "If a restaurant owner posted 200 photos at their own restaurant, then we only counted 25 of them," Seirafi-Pour says.
Not surprisingly, the steak shops among the top three are busy tourist attractions, as is the Hard Rock at No. 8. Frankford Hall and El Vez do an enormous volume of business. Tattooed Mom is probably in there for its photo-worthy retro decor. The Franklin Fountain is there because of the photo-ready-ness of the ice cream and old-fashioned kitsch. PYT's burgers find their way into many Insta feeds. Buddakan is popular, and its photos include groups of friends and couples taking selfies. (Three of the restaurants, by the way - Frankford Hall, El Vez and Buddakan - are Starr restaurants.)
Here is the list, along with the number of Instagram photos that MyFab5 counted in 2014.
1. Pat's King of Steaks 1,656
2. Geno's Steaks 1,545
3. Jim's Steaks 1,467
4. Frankford Hall 1,449
5. El Vez 1,295
6. Tattooed Mom 976
7. The Franklin Fountain 918
8. Hard Rock Cafe 865
9. PYT 859
10. Buddakan 812
One Instagram tip, from Seirafi-Pour: "Using the words 'food porn' might bother certain segments of your audience."
("Food porn" bothers me in another way. I can say without question that there is an inverse relationship of the quality of a food photo to the shooter's tagging it with the term.)
And while I'm on the subject of social media, be advised that one of Philadelphia's best-followed food accounts on Insta is @philadelphiafoodie, run by Harriton High students Amanda Soll and Remy Hill.
Hill founded it after being inspired by @new_fork_city.
Soll, 17, is pretty much running it solo because Hill is studying this year in India. The young women, who have amassed an enviable 29,000-plus followers on Instagram in little more than a year, accept and post all kinds of Philadelphia-theme food photos from everyone - "normal people and the restaurants themselves," Soll told me. The account credits the photographer on each post.
Soll said they do it to showcase the region's food and recently have been tempted to monetize the site. Soll said they have been approached by companies offering to pay them to post, but have not done so.
Soll said a sponsored photo would "have to be something I would use. And if the quality wasn't good, I'd go down to the restaurant itself [to take a better one]. We have to keep [the quality] up to par."