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Do you ever think about how to open a restaurant and ensure that it’s crushing it on day 1? In today’s video, I talk to the owner of Howdy’s Grill’d Pizza on how they 6x their opening day goals.
To learn more please either watch the video above, read the transcript or listen to the podcast below.
Read the Video Transcript by Clicking Here...
Do ever think about how to open up a restaurant and make sure that it is crushing it on day 1? I’m here at Howdy’s Texas Grill’d Pizza in College Station, Texas where they are about to open and they are gonna crush it.
How they started:
Michael (operator): Howdy’s Texas Grill’d Pizza is the first of its kind. In October 2016 we came up with the concept for creating a style of pizza dedicated to Texas. We noticed that there are all styles of pizzas (Detroit, New York, Chicago), yet with Texas having the sixth largest economy in the world and some of the best-known food traditions, but it doesn’t have its own style of pizza. We thought that’s crazy, so we got to work.
Joe, my managing partner, and I worked for about a year developing the recipes, the product, etc. During that time we also rented a Test Kitchen and started catering, developing relationships in the community, and ended up sponsoring the Brazos Valley Bombers for a year. That got us 3,000+ people testing and trying our pizza, giving us feedback on what Texas grilled pizza should be about.
Social media marketing:
Michael (operator): We have massive, super active, and high levels of engagement in our Facebook page. As we’re building up to the opening, we held a voting contest for our pizza box design and drink cup design. We gave our followers three-four options that people went crazy over. They loved being involved in picking our loyalty cup and pizza box. The feedback we get is huge and they’re signing up for our email list.
Our engagement level on a single post with a list of just around 2,000 names that we’ve built into our Facebook following, we will get anywhere from three to four thousand exposures from shares, likes and reposts. This is just from Facebook, not even Instagram (Joe added).
If you guys didn’t pick up on some of the subtle details here, we’re talking about a restaurant that’s not even open yet and has a bigger social media following than some restaurants that have been open for 10 years. They have more engagements and a bigger email list. I talk to guys all the time out there who don’t even have ten names on an email list and these guys have 2,000 plus. This restaurant is gonna pop when it opens and I’ll be sure to share some numbers (customer counts, etc.)
So what can you do in your restaurant if you don’t have an email list? Build one!
Get 10 names tomorrow and then get 10 names the next day, and so on. There’s a million strategies out there but today is not going to be a step-by-step video detailing that strategy. I really just want to make the point that here’s a restaurant not even open yet but already has the community involved.
It reminds me of a story from Paul Motenko, who’s on my Restaurant Owner’s Roadmap program. I did an interview with him when he was the CEO and founder of BJ’s Brewery. It became a billion dollar company before he sold it! Paul was very passionate about a particular disease or a challenge that one of his family members had. About six months before a new restaurant opened, he would partner with everyone in that community that supported the fundraising for a cure/treatment for this disease. By the time his restaurant opened he had passionate members of the community that were there to support him because of what they supported.
“If your restaurant is not open, it’s not too early to get started on it. If your restaurant is open, it’s not too late to get started.”
Howdy’s Grill’d Pizza update:
Their opening was a huge success, they were up 550% over their opening weekend budget. They completely ran out of food before they even got through dinner the first night. They had to bring in a rental refrigerator and bring in so much food to help them get through the first couple weeks of opening. Obviously, things have tamed down now but so far through the first four weeks, they’re up 200% over what they budgeted.
I just wanted to say that when opening up a restaurant, there’s a right way to do it. Obviously, there’s a wrong way to do it. This also applies to operating a restaurant. There is a formula for success, and these guys followed it not just for developing a concept but also for opening a restaurant and now for operating it. They said they’re getting franchise inquiries from celebrities and from people with money in hand ready to write checks.
Howdy’s Grill’d Pizza’s opening couldn’t have gone any better and the operations seems to be going incredibly well. It’s just a great story, not from a standpoint where I want you to be jealous. I’m sharing this with you because I want you to know that if you’re struggling right now there is a formula for turning that around, you just have to find that formula. If you want to reach out to me and let me help you find that formula and develop that strategy, great. If you want to reach out to another coach, great.
But there’s no need for you to struggle through this yourself because there are answers out there. You can take a long time and look for the answers in other places and try to put your own answers together, or you can go to people who have these answers and “shortcut” it. Thank you for spending the time with me I look forward to bringing you more great videos like this every week have a wonderful day.
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