Culinary innovators at Houston-based Ignite Restaurant Group have been remaking the menu at Joe’s Crab Shack since shortly after it bought the chain from Landry’s Restaurants in 2006, but the changes have been more evolutionary than revolutionary, harking back to the casual seafood chain’s waterfront roots.
Now, a new ad campaign created by McCann Erickson with the tagline “100% Shore” tells the tale of the eatery in 30-second spots shot in Galveston that feature the rough seafood shacks that inspired the creation of the first Joe’s in Houston in 1991 and have flavored both the menu and the ambiance at the chain ever since. Today, Joe’s Crab Shack operates about 130 restaurants in 31 states — including a location that opened last week in Savannah, Ga. — and there are plans to open several more locations this year, said Chief Marketing Officer Robin Ahearn.
Ignite also operates 15 Brick House Tavern + Tap restaurants and just announced plans to acquire Romano’s Macaroni Grill, making for a busy week for Ahearn, who left a similar post at Applebee’s International to join Ignite in 2007. (read more…)
Take a picture. It’ll last longer — way longer than the restaurant meal you ordered. Still, just because you want to take a picture of your plate doesn’t mean you should. More eateries are asking patrons not to snap away as each course arrives, in consideration of fellow guests.
The New York Times reported this week on chefs who have discouraged or downright outlawed photo snapping at their restaurants, thwarting the legions of foodies addicted to documenting their every meal and sharing via e-mail, Instagram, blog or Pinterest.
“It’s reached epic proportions,” said Steven Hall, a restaurant spokesman who has worked in the business for 16 years. “Everybody wants to get their shot. They don’t care how it affects people around them.”
Chefs vary in how strictly they enforce photo prohibition, with white-tablecloth eateries including Per Se, Le Bernardin and The Fat Duck discouraging flash photos — to little avail — and others, such as David Chang’s Momofuku, enforcing a strict ban on photography without fear of embarrassing guests who break the rule, according to the Times. (read more…)
Restaurants have more social-marketing applications and options this season, and some chains have been announcing splashy social plans in recent weeks. Chili’s Grill & Bar, for example, is sending out a different offer each day leading up to Christmas via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, mobile website and app as part of the chain’s “Holidaily” promotion.
The 32-day campaign uses social tools to create richer marketing by building on the Holidaily tradition started two years ago, largely because updates are daily, instead of weekly website postings or e-mails, Chili’s says. “We’re seeing more and more engagement happening with our guests in the social space, so part of it is wanting to be where our guests are. If they have opted in on those social platforms to be friends of the brand, it’s a great way to let them know what’s happening,” Krista Gibson, senior vice president of parent Brinker International, told Nation’s Restaurant News. (read more…)
Loyalty programs have been around for quite some time. It all started with the paper or plastic loyalty cards a merchant would punch or stamp every time a customer came in to make a purchase, which the customer could then redeem for a free or discounted item, or some other special offer. One problem with that method was that the cards got lost very easily, and every time customers replaced their card, they would have to start the process all over again. Also, the merchant wouldn’t be able to easily collect data on their customers.
So how can merchants solve these issues? I caught up with Marc Kremer, founder of PunchMe, a new loyalty program that helps consumers earn rewards at their favorite places and helps merchants easily offer fun and exciting rewards to customers. Check out what he had to say.