When the Hawaiian shirt of trend forecasting’s grey-suit world says he’s about to be “turned loose on Vegas restaurants for 24 hours with a camera following me—some real crazy stuff,” you realize the importance of having the mayor’s office on speed dial. Hearing Andy Ford warn of crazy stuff is like having Lady Gaga snipe that your get-up is freaky. The city might want to relocate the elderly and at least Siegfried, if not Roy, too.
Andy has a very adult job—chief insights officer for Noble, a Springfield, Mo., company that runs a foodservice trends-tracking business and a food-focused website, FoodChannel.com. His job is to detect anomalies in consumer preferences and discern a pattern before the incremental shifts harden into a mainstream trend.
He goes about it with the elan of an impish kid taking a road trip to Six Flags with a lax uncle. Who says you can’t take a bath in the motel pool if the sun is shining?
That tepid regard for the rules was evident when Andy told me about his mission to Sin City. For 24 hours, he’d be hitting some of the town’s offbeat eating places—not just restaurants, but any joint where the subcultures of a pulp novelist’s favorite town might grab a bite. Did I have any suggestions?
Well, yeah, but most of them are either closed to the public or likely to test the extent of an uninvited guest’s emergency-room health coverage. I wouldn’t just barge into some of the insider haunts in a town like that.
Great! Could I shoot him some suggestions ASAP?
That was a week ago. Tomorrow is D (V?) Day. Starting at 7 o’clock Vegas time, Andy will be on a blitz of eating places that only a city like Glitter Gulch might harbor. Along the way he’ll interview people on and off the Strip about the unusual places where they might eat. This probably won’t be a project that wins Chamber of Commerce approval.
But chances are high that it’ll be a jaw-dropper. I’m going to follow Andy via his Twitter feeds and blog posts. You can get the distillation via my own tweets, via twitter.com/peterromeo, or follow Andy directly via @aford. Or look for the hashtags #vegas and #iraves.
And if you know of any bail bondsmen in the area, drop me a note. Just in case.