View Full Version : Hello..First post..I server the Restaurant industry and hope to contribute

05-10-2011, 12:06 PM
My Name is Anthony Martin and this is my first post on this board after a long time of following it and actually even using it for research.

I'm a born and bread Oklahoman who is a foodie and who has my dream job as a account executive with one of the largest, longest lasting and successful restaurant marketing firms in the country. I'm a self admitted message board junky and I'd like to start contributing to this message board. Sorry for the long winded post but if Iím going to be on here as a contributing member than I thought Iíd at least offer an introduction of who I am and why Iím on here.

The one thing that I can bring to the table for the other members of this board right off the bat is rewards. If you are a frequent diner and would like to earn Airline Miles, Best Buy points, Hilton family and Holiday Inn family hotel points, college tuition or cash back you can become a member and be rewarded for eating at our featured restaurants. Another component of being a member of our frequent diner rewards programs is that your opinions and feedback are not only read by the restaurant but actually broke down into extremely useful data that helps them improve, train and motivate their performance. While staying anonymous, restaurants can actually contact you and address your positive or constructive reviews through a managed portal. If anyone is interested in more details just respond on here. Typically we get all of our members through our airline, Best Buy, U-Promise, Hotel partners etc. so please don't think I'm trying to sell you on anything. I'm just making the members of this board aware because there are obviously frequent diners on here that could benefit and there are also great local restaurants that would benefit from your business and actually reward you for your loyalty and feedback with no coupon or discount required just a great dining experience and rewards. I just happen to be the guy thatís responsible for servicing and adding featured restaurants for Rewards Network in Oklahoma. We are a 27 year old company with 12000 restaurant partners and 4 million members in the US and Canada. Oklahoma is one of our newest territories to have a dedicated rep we already have around 40 "Program Restaurants" in the state of Oklahoma and more are being added monthly. We have several OK restaurant partners who have been with us for more than 8 years. Currently most of our restaurant partners are in the downtown area but weíve been expanding into areas that are more convenient and closer to where most of our members live. Iím also trying to bring more variety to our members.

I've been in many restaurants in many markets and OKC may not have as many restaurants as LA or NY but the ones we do have stack up against the cream of the crop. There has become a food culture in OK that can be credited to a lot of great people and I'm blessed to get to rub shoulders with many of them daily. Excuse me if I get on a soap box for a second but I believe it's in Oklahoma restaurants and customer's best interest to not coupon or discount. I believe it's a downward slope and devalues service, value and the over all experience. Some marketing programs can even over leverage a restaurant and ultimately break them. I want what's best for both Oklahoma restaurants and our members because believe me, compared to the other markets that I've been too, Oklahoma is a great place to be for both restaurants and diners. Iím afraid that the trend that Iíve seen in other markets to discount is going to hit Oklahoma like it has other markets. Itís already happening here but itís my hope that Oklahoma restaurants are close nit and talk to each other enough that the competition doesnít turn kamikaze and train customers to focus on price as opposed to service, quality and value.

Iím a strong advocate for restaurants making profit and customers receiving great service and a great dining experience. Iím very passionate about the company that I work for and the services we provide to our rewards partners, program restaurants and frequent diners and Iím glad I get to serve the industry in a positive way.


05-10-2011, 12:37 PM
When the price of everything is going up people look for value. Give me a whole in the wall, mean order takers, great food, at a low price and I will keep coming back. Marketing gimmick are just that, gimmics.

Joe Kimball
05-10-2011, 03:22 PM

*wipes tear from eye, sniffs*

Awww. Can we keep him?

05-10-2011, 10:33 PM
When the price of everything is going up people look for value. Give me a whole in the wall, mean order takers, great food, at a low price and I will keep coming back. Marketing gimmick are just that, gimmics.

My intention was to introduce myself and give my background so that there was no hidden agenda. I also wanted to let the board members know about something that I do that could benefit them. If it's of no benefit to you then I understand and respect your opinion. I'm glad you brought up gimmicks because that's exactly what I was describing when I said that there are programs that over leverage a market. Kind of like the housing bubble. They're selling paper.

I don't want to get off on a rant here but to quote Ricky Bobby "With All due respect" that's great for you to get to eat as cheaply as possible but how long will that restaurant be there before you show up and it's out of business? Heck the "hole in the wall" may be able to survive by discounting but the problem is that mind set can bleed over into restaurants who may provide more service, ambiance, quality, etc and make it hard for them to pay for said customer benefits. If eating as cheaply as possible outside of your home is your goal then you're also not going to travel very far either. The daily special at your every day "hole in the wall" may be all the promotion you need to drive you into their doors every day. That's great and I love hole in the wall restaurants just as much as you do. If they're popular enough and have enough sales volume we have "hole in the wall" restaurants on our program all over the country. Because you probably don't sit and think about it every day it may not occur to you but even that "hole in the wall restaurant" is trying to figure out some way to drive more new customers into their doors. Every empty table is a wasted asset. I guarantee you that even the hole in the wall restaurant owner would rather have a butt in the seat that on average spends 18% more vs. a person that they had to discount or coupon to get in the door. A lot of restaurants do coupons, discounts and rewards at the same time and if it's a fit for them and that's what they got to do to fill as many seats as possible then so be it. All I'm saying is that I'm an advocate for restaurants making as much money as possible and if they can do that without playing a hand in the devaluation of their product and service, please try to do so. If I can play a part in encouraging diners to dine based on value and service then I'm doing my job. I spent 8 years in an industry that sold on nothing but price and I can tell you it's a slippery slope and I feel very strongly that it has no place in an industry like hospitality/service/art.

One key word you said was value and not price. We actually ask our members about value and relay it to our restaurant partners. Like you, I think value is one of the most important matrix that we measure both locally and nationwide and against similar restaurants.

I may be wrong but the tone of your post is suggesting that the company that I work for is a gimmick so to be fair I'd like to answer to that. Our gimmick has been in the industry for 27 years and we've been copycatted by so many people that yes now the market all looks like a gimmick. I understand that and fight against it every day. While we are pretty dominant in other markets, we look like the newcomer in Oklahoma. As far as marketing for restaurants goes, we're as least gimmicky as it gets. Our niche is that we market to our members. Our typical member is someone who flies, stays in hotels, buys a lot of electronics, saves for college and is a frequent diner at upper end restaurants (3-5 times per week). Because of who we partner with to gain members our demographics are not the type that typically clip coupons. Our average member has a high income and we market restaurants where they get rewards for dining and actually spending more money because rewards promote spending and that's our gimmick. We have close to 12000 restaurants nation wide who we deliver higher spending customers too and we have the reporting to back it up. I also have personally met with every one of our member restaurants and tons in other markets they tell me that they see the value in it. If there's one thing that's true is that restaurant owners speak their minds and wouldn't hesitate to tell me if they think we're a gimmick that doesn't work. Furthermore we do not have any type of cancellation fee or minimum term and if we don't send in a customer, the restaurant pays nothing so if it's not working for them they can quit. We don't hold restaurants hostage, we feature them to our members. Our members get very valuable airline miles, program points, etc for doing their part and are also given a platform to be heard and measured by the restaurant. You may still classify us as a gimmick but at one time the wishbone was considered a gimmick offense ;) If it works, is it a gimmick?

You may not want to get rewards from dining out but someone on here might find it beneficial. If not that's fine, I just want you all to know where I'm coming from when I post on here. I do not benefit one red cent when we gain a member so there is absolutely nothing in it for me to let people on here know that they can join other than it's what I bring to the table here.

The tone of this board kind of seems negative and I thought I'd try to contribute so that the Debby Downers don't fill the whole board with "Worst bla bla bla" posts. The message board changed ownership and went to crap so I thought I'd find a new message board to frequent. Now that I've introduced myself and how I might bring something to the board's members I'll not talk about what I do or the company I work for and get back to being a normal poster.

Later, Anthony

05-10-2011, 10:34 PM
Only if you'll "Slow clap" for me ;)