May 2008

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Richard Chenoweth

Check out Smart Glass that is produced by Sage Electrochromics in Fairibalt Minn. It can be adjusted to let in as little or as much light as you want. I have been in the restaurant business for 25+years and catering is what has kept us going. Check us out @ www.scrantons.com

Rob

Hi Scott,

My wife pointed out the article in the New York Times and I noticed the mention of this blog. I haven't read the rest of the comments by here is my two cents.

My freinds and I (The Ranchers) own Townhomes across the street. Our group is now up to 25 members. Stacey's was our hang-out every Wednesday night for over a year. We really enjoyed the restaurant. Unfortunately, we have pretty much stopped going to your Restaurant for two reasons. First, the discount once given to locals was discontinued and second, we could never count on the restaurant being or staying open. I can't tell you how many times we have arrived there around 9 to find the doors locked.

Personally, I think you need to adjust your hours staying open later and possibly opening the restaurant on Sundays. You should also consider having live music one or two nights a week. Perhaps you can allow dancing in the banquet room or elsewhere.

Thanks.

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.......

Mason

Well Scott here is my advice,
After looking at stacy's site, and your dilbert one, something tells me that the latter gets a lot more traffic. Therefore, you should use your exploit the dilbert site and put a link to staceys cafe. Then you should make the stacey site look a lot more like the dilbert one for continuity reasons. After that, you should narrow your menus down to their top 20 items (20 for dinner, 20 for lunch). That way you specialize those items and through word of mouth they become popular. Then you can hike up their prices a little for a better profit. Aim for a bussiness atmosphere so that you attract a wealthier clientel. DO NOT DO ANY GIMMICKS OR EVENTS! That will not attract people, and it makes you look desperate. But go with the bussiness thing and make it so that it would be a place for companies to go for meetings and plans. The fact that it is owned by the creator of dilbert would cause people to come there. EXPLOIT THAT. You could make a comic that would be something like "panel 1=a blatent marketing ploy, panel two= dilbert: i suggested to my boss to go to staceys cafe for our year end marketing plan. Dogbert: so what happened? Panel three= dilbert: He actually made a competent decesion!" Or something along those lines, and then only publish the comic in pleasentons paper, with staceys cafe's url next to the comic.

So to sum it all up, put a link to staceys cafe from the dilbert site, make the SC site look more like the dilbert one, narrow down your menus, make the restauraunt geared towords bussinesses, and exploit a pleasenton comic.
Reply or something,
Mason
P.s. watch the food networks' restaurant makeover

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Aurean

Word of mouth is a powerful medium.
It's free too...
you might want to stick to one type of cuisine, or event, HELD ON A REGULAR BASIS, and then cross your fingers and hope for the best.
As things usually work out, you should (slowly) build up a devoted clientele of people interested in whatever you decide to hold as your event.
Who will talk to their friends, who will be interested in similar pursuits...and there you go...
Maybe cheese wednesdays, or something...you know, a periodic themed event.

Snackbert

This does not look like your restaurant. There is regular fare there. Where is the Dilberito? Where is the banana and diet Pepsi snack? The food you sell is high calorie. People eating there would soon be obese. Healthy maybe, but still obese. Include a calorie count. An applebees near me got little business until they started adding a Weight Watchers count. Now my fat friend on WW can eat out again. Hes very popular, and we all tag along. So, it's your restaurant, make it FEEL like your restaurant.

Robert

Host "Zonta Club" meetings. They are only monthly, but it's something.

tony

Oh Great Blog Brain good article you wtite about staceycafe i also want to go there and taste food and wine

Jakee

great article i also go to wineclub take wine and dicussion with people and enjoy my lifesytle

what-if

Scott,
Not sure if you still get to read this, but it's been on my minde ever since this post. I'm also not sure if what I am about to say hasn't been said... Forgive me for being too lazy read all posts.

Although I do not have a specific idea, I do have a strong feeling that in order to get people to talk about your restaurant is to give them a story to tell. Something that they'll easliy remember when they're asked for a good restaurant, or even something that's entertaining enough to tell people about at parties and such.

I'll give you an example; Ten years ago I went to a restaurant (in Amsterdam, where I lived at the time) that I still tell people about. Why? Because there's a story attached. The place in question had all different plates to eat from. All different in color/style/shape. No 2 were alike, same with the cutlery and the glasses... The explanation on the menu said that at the time of the opening of the restaurant, all invited guests were asked to bring their own plate, cutlery and glassware, and leave it there after their meal. It is so simple, but it stayed with me such that whenever restaurants came up, this always was the first one to come to my mind! It just makes a good story...

Good food is needed, but is not memorable enough since it's not a unique trait of a restaurant. Unusual humor is nice, and might add to the experience, but is hard to reproduce by most people (at least in a funny way)... But something as described above is easy to remember (and tell about) for all...

Hope it helps...

Gogmagog

I'm not expert on this field but have an Idea to contribute. Host charity fundraiser drives. In Toledo there was a radio talk-show host who had a favorite cause. I can't recall what his charity or cause was, but would constantly be promoting his upcoming bi-annual event at a certain riverfront restaurant. All you need is a relatively popular host with the same audience for your restaurant.

Perhaps two or three hosts/causes with different audiences to increase your exposure.

Jim

The problem with your restaurant is very obvious to an outside observer. In fact I'm stunned that even you can't see it. The fix would cost you less than $20K per restaurant, but would force you to suck up your pride a bit, and I know you are incapable of that.

Nonetheless, I will not be an unpaid consultant and give you the extremely simple answer. More fun to watch you suffer. I'm certain that it kills you to see your cartoon "earnings" get pissed down the drain on failing restaurants. Good luck!

brock

change the name to something alittle more manly and shocking.... or maybe a crazy german name that cannot be pronounced or a mix of arabic and chinese symbols with subtitles in parenthis. Also make it extra exclusive and charge clients 3 arms and a leg and maybe 2 internal organs to eat there. I know you don't want any extra marketing, but send personalized invitation cards to a list of a few thousand potential clients from your local phone book to come on a certain date and give them the impression that they are getting some sort of special deal by coming. Then the line will be out the door for that one special night, but keep some bald bouncers wearing tight black underarmour shirts and sundglasses at the door, and word will spread across the land about your glorious diner. Maybe throw in a theme night here or there too.

Ashe

Three words. WORD OF MOUTH. I always check places out because of recommendations so get people out on the streets, plants if you will, to talk the restaurant up. Of course you actually would need a restaurant that can live up to a good word of mouth campaign.

Dan

Been there a couple of times for afterwork get togethers. Some impressions: 1 - it's in a shopping center. Folks who hang out usually go to downtown Pleasanton, Danville, Walnut Creek (I know the other one is downtown but...)
2 - I always feel like I'm competing for parking with the person going to Safeway. I don't know why, but I really hate that feeling if I'm going to a place for a banquet or event.
3 - There is really nothing special about Stacey's that I've encountered. Everyone knows you own it, so the Dilbert thing wouldn't connect in a big way. The menu is ok, but you can easily go to Haps for the same thing.
4 - I don't like the bar stool tables in the front at all. Never comfortable and just feels ackward. Put some plushy chairs in and people would feel like they could stay longer.

Ok now for something that might help out. A place I went to in Switzerland had a unique item on their menu that really impressed me. It was a service that you could use to drive you home in your own car (they had 2 drivers, 1 for your car and 1 for the "chase" car). They charged about $25-$30 for the service, but they advertised it so that you could relax and enjoy yourself freely. If you had too much to drink, you didn't have to worry. For banquets in Dublin, you pretty much have to worry about drinking too much (which most people do), cuz you've got to drive out of there.

My 2 cents

dogbert

i think you ought to offer a vast hosts of normally inmoral acts and then convince the dinners that their
god(s) have no power in the resturant because you yourself are a god. something tells me it might work.

Adam

I for one am against the nudity or topless policy that many people have suggested. I think that there are a variety of other ways. I like the idea of monthly murder mysteries to occur there. Above someone suggested that you (Scott Adams) come to speak monthly, could you arrange a speakers line up once a week?

Really I think I am bad at the market positioning idea, if things aren't going well turn it into a pharmacy, everyone needs drugs and then I could get a job there too!

karan

Switzerland already got there first. That's what the Red Cross (inversion of the Swiss flag) is all about.

Catbert's Evil Sibling Rolfbert

Ditch the banquet room and put in a whopper tiki bar, make it famous as the best after-work watering hole for miles around. Perfect some cheap carnival munchies like bloomin onions and fresh-made potato chips. Offer superb guy-appeal food like black angus burgers at can't-refuse prices, the world is crying out for friday night every night of the work week. Make it a refuge with music & TVs, all carefully modulated so that conversation is possible. Offer a different special appetizer/burger every weeknight. Fire up the happy hour menu. Us cube-dwellers are looking for the impossible combination of sin, nutrition, affordability and companionship, in the comfortable atmosphere of an awesome basement bar--be our dream rec room and we'll move in. What I would go back again and again for: fried oyster po'boys, alcoholic passionfruit slurpees, wings at wing prices (not steak prices), sweet corn tamales, real peach pie.

esteban

man, you're screwed.

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