Bright Lights, Big Moment
The feeling of wonderment comes in a rush, the moment a guest steps out onto the roof deck 20 some stories up; instantly awed by The Empire State Building and Manhattan’s glorious skyline.
And then in a whirl, the cameras jump out of pockets and purses, and the guests of 230 Fifth’s rooftop garden and penthouse pose and smile for posterity.
That moment, says Jason Buffer, of corporate sales and marketing for the 13-year-old establishment, is what he and his associates call “the Instagramable moment.” And it has helped to drive word-of-mouth advertising and keep the venue fresh and ever popular.
In this week’s Q&A with Boxerbrand’s blog Recipe for Success, Buffer discusses the dazzling 15,000 square foot outdoor deck and recently redesigned posh interior restaurant that hosted 550 events just last year for guests who’ve been so happy with the experience that they’ve created a social media on Instagram topping 62,000.
Q: How has 230 Fifth embraced Instagram?
Social media started reaching out to us, especially over the last 4-5 years. We started to notice that our guests were posting photos all over Instagram and were essentially doing our advertising for us.
We realized that the experience of 230 Fifth was one of our best features. After all, you can go anywhere in NY for a great burger and martini. So, when we saw this growing following on Instagram, we went with it and started working on ways to keep those “Instagramable moments” fresh.
Q: How have you kept Instagram fresh?
We’ve come up with visual displays and even created neon hashtag signs that people can use in the backdrop of their photos. For example, for the last few winters we’ve put heated, lighted igloos on the deck for people to use and to photograph. And our hashtag signs say things like, “New York, City of Dreams.” The idea being that we want to offer memorable moments that are fresh, and keep customers returning after that first experience.
Last summer we did a frozen drink promotion and encourage people to take pictures with the drinks, we served them with little mementos like a rubber ducky. We wanted to give customers something they could remember us by. Because even though we have an amazing rooftop deck and panoramic view, we’re always thinking about how we can enhance the experience and make it memorable.
Q: Who are your customers?
We have a solid mix of domestic and international travelers who come to 230 Fifth for the views and the experience. If someone’s visiting the city, this is definitely a spot that guests want to visit.
But we also have a strong customer base from the city. Last year we threw 550 events, weddings, bar mitzvahs, awards ceremonies, and other corporate events. We hosted concerts by Taylor Swift and Mariah Carey, and we were also the site of Election Night television coverage in 2016. On the flip side, we’ve been the site of famous hotdog eating contests and the setting for several movies.
Q: I understand 230 Fifth also has a glamorous indoor space.
We did a massive interior renovation last year, gutting it and laying in new flooring, wallpaper and beautiful up lighting and LED chandeliers. We have about 15,000 of interior space and 15,000 of outdoor deck space.
Every detail is designed to enhance the experience of being in the space. On the deck, we have these amazing topiaries and elements that look like they could have come from the movie Edward Scissorhands.
Our interior is chic and gorgeous. I think one of the things I’m most proud of is how the interior looks at any time of the day or night. When I take prospective clients on walkthroughs to show them the venue, I feel proud at how clean and good it looks, even in the natural light of the morning.
Q: What challenge have you faced, and how did you overcome it?
I’m not sure I would call this a challenge, but, one of the most important priorities for us has been to be a good neighbor and to maintain a great relationship with our neighbors. Because we have such a large, outdoor venue, we make sure that we communicate all the time with local boards and neighborhood associations to keep them in the loop about our events and plans, and to prioritize any concerns or suggestions they might have.
Q: What advise do you have for someone in hospitality?
My doctrine has always been, as a bartender before this, and now as in corporate events, that you need to treat people the way you would want to be treated. I’m always available to them, to answer questions and address concerns, and I don’t sugarcoat what I tell them.
If you want to work in hospitality, in any aspect of the field, with clients and employees, the number one thing you need is patience. It’s a fun career and if you work hard, it’s very rewarding. One thing I love about it is that every day is different, and there’s a never a dull day! — 230 Fifth uses Boxerbrand’s Splash menu covers line in their table presentation. Thank you!