Lower Merion Grad Creates Virtual Dining Experience for His Philadelphia Restaurant

Ara Ishkhanian, a Lower Merion graduate, has created a virtual dining experience for his restaurant, Philadelphia’s Apricot Stone, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Image via Charles Fox of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ara Ishkhanian, a Lower Merion High graduate and owner of Apricot Stone in Philadelphia, has created a virtual dining experience for his restaurant’s patrons amid the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Stephanie Farr for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

With restaurants being forced to only serve take-out, Ishkhanian lost the thing he loved the most about his business – being around people.

So he decided to do something about it. Now he has created a virtual dining experience that begins with a call to Apricot Stone from the patron to make a reservation. Then Ishkhanian emails the customer both the menu and a brief questionnaire.

At the set time, the former Narberth resident video calls the customers from across a table at his restaurant. The table is set with a lit candle and filled water and wine glasses. He then asks for their menu choices.

After taking the order, he logs off then calls back about ten minutes after the in-house delivery to make sure everything is in order.

“I’ve talked to people for 15 minutes on that follow-up call,” he said. “It’s kind of nice when you don’t talk about coronavirus-related stuff.”

Read more about Ara Ishkhanian at The Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.

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