Finding the hidden gems of NYC (so you don’t have to)
By Alicia Venter
Zaire Stanislaus loves to keep herself busy. Nursing school and her full time job scheduling at Mount Sinai would be enough to ensure the 29-year-old has a full schedule.
However, beyond her 9-to-5 and labs, the Brooklyn-native is a restaurant marketer and restaurant influencer, managing the social media platforms of New York City restaurants and collaborating with businesses to produce content for more than 125,000 of her Instagram followers @drinklinknyc.
Her job includes staying on top of trends, constant video editing, late night collaborations with restaurants and keeping an eye on other content creators to ensure she stays unique and different. As a social media manager, she runs the accounts of restaurants, including Social Corner and Cove Caribbean Restaurant in Jamaica.
“People think you just go out to eat, and that’s it, but after creating 100 videos, it gets hard to stay creative, unique and different,” Stanislaus said. “You have to really think outside the box so your videos don’t all look the same.”
Stanislaus starts her job before she arrives at the restaurant, scouring their websites for what appears to be their most popular food, or what she feels her audience may like best. It’s not always what she wants to eat, she explained — it’s what she thinks her audience would want to eat.
“Once I get there, I’m trying to execute the idea in my head, not just a random recording,” she said.
Using this process, she explained, creating content is easier and creates a better product for her followers.
Stanislaus’ parents are Trinidadian, and she is very connected to Caribbean culture, so she often features Caribbean food on her page. However, as she grew up eating the food in her home, she acknowledges that her favorite type of restaurants are steakhouses and Thai restaurants.
“The idea of going out and paying more money for things my mom makes is a little weird,” she shared.
Trust, she emphasized, is an indispensable part of her product — without it, her followers are unable to rely on her content. As such, she refuses to post content at restaurants she did not truly enjoy.
“I feel like that is terrible for your brand, it messes up the trust that everyone that follows you has with you, because [they think] that you’re only posting things for you,” she said. She feels that if her followers are going to trust her to spend their money on restaurants she features, she has a burden to ensure that it isn’t money wasted.
Stanislaus also builds relationships with the owners, so if people do not have a good experience visiting the restaurant, she can help them reach out to the owners to find the root of the problem.
“Especially nowadays, restaurants are expensive. You can go out and randomly try restaurants and it’s horrible, and you’ll be so upset that you spent money. I think that with pages like mine we can rectify the situation,” Stanislaus said.
Stanislaus loves to discover hidden gems — stunning places that are not yet well-known or popular. Recently, she visited Room 100 in East New York, off the Jackie Robinson Parkway. Tucked away between car shops and mechanics, Stanislaus was happy to share her spectacular experience with her followers.
“When you walk in, it’s beautiful. It’s small, but it’s designed really well. The staff are friendly and the food is amazing — it’s truly a hidden gem,” she said.
Stanislaus’ day starts at 8:00 a.m., grabbing her i-Pad to make her to-do list. The morning is a balancing act between work for her remote job at Mount Sinai and her clients whose social media accounts she manages. She works on her own page starting around noon, and her afternoon usually involves a collaboration with a restaurant. On Saturday, Stanislaus usually does two or three collaborations.
“I feel like to stay driven or motivated, you have to actually enjoy what you are doing,” she said. “I don’t find it to be a tedious or hard task. Going to restaurants is fun, but creating content is what I truly enjoy…I feel like if you enjoy doing that part, it would never really feel like a job.”
Stanislaus grew up in East New York, and currently lives in Canarsie. She hopes to open a restaurant or lounge in the next five years. A self-described “serial-entrepreneur,” Stanislaus also hopes to grow her personal brand and to reopen her clothing boutique.
Stanislaus is always open to new clients looking for a social media manager, and encourages any restaurant or brand to reach out to her at [email protected]or on her Instagram.