Diners, Drive-ins and Dives reaches 30 million viewers a month, and devoted fans turn to web sites like flavortownusa.com to track featured restaurants and report on recent visits. Before social media, an appearance on the show caused one massive surge in business, followed by subsequent pops each time a rerun aired. Now, with Twitter and Facebook making news of show appearances public earlier, business picks up before the show even runs.
Restaurants have come to view an appearance on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives as an instant windfall. Those featured on the show in the past have reported doubled revenue, and some much more. But that increased revenue can come at a cost to restaurants, too, as their capacity to meet exploding demand is pushed to a brink. There’s even been talk of a Fieri Curse.
Jason Boso, the owner of the Twisted Root burger chain, handled his new stardom flawlessly. After the show aired in 2009, sales at his original store tripled, growing from $50,000 a month to more than $150,000 a month, he says. But he was ready for the onslaught, he says, in part because Fieri warned him about smaller businesses that had been overwhelmed in the past.