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Le Bernardin Succeeds With Social Media on Menu: Co-Owner

How does a New York City restaurant that has catered to the elite for 25 years stay in business during a soft economy?

Photo:Doug Ellis

If it's Le Bernardin, you maintain your long-time quality standards while adding modern tools including social media to the menu, chef and co-owner Eric Ripert told CNBC Friday.

"We are not trendy and not short term. We think long term. We deliver a service that creates a special experience for the clients," he said of the restaurant recently voted most popular in New York City and recently awarded three Michelin stars.

Catering to the elite might be Le Bernardin's bread and butter, but it is a small group. To keep going in a notoriously fickle dining mecca like New York has required using the restaurant's public relations and marketing tools and adding social media.

Thanks to social media "we have a much wider audience being aware of what Le Bernardin is, and we attract a young clientele," Ripert said. "A young clientele seems to be suffering less from the economic downturn. We see that at the restaurant and it is making us very successful."

Those three stars from Michelin and high ratings from the other influential dining guide, Zagat's, don't hurt. Neither does Ripert's appearances on the shows "Top Chef" and "Avec Eric," which he said has brought in diners who want to meet him.

Food inflation has had little effect on the restaurant, he said.

"We changed the prices and we applied the index of inflation on the price on the menu and therefore we don’t really feel it," he said. "It is very important not to discount your product because then you lose the consistency and the quality that you can be serving to your clients."

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