3/27/09

connecting with your audience

there's a little corner greasy spoon in long beach, california called the potholder cafe that has developed a charming way to connect with the people who eat there.

throughout the establishment, there are pictures people have voluntarily sent in of themselves holding up signs that say "eat at the potholder." and they're from all over - san francisco, underwater, even in machu picchu. (quick confession. i don't know if that picture is, in fact, machu picchu, but it's one of my favorite names of places - second to schenectady, new york, i'd say - and i haven't been able to work it into a sentence in days.)

i asked the waitress who worked there how the tradition began, but she couldn't remember. it just started happening, and now it serves as a great testimonial. i mean, how great must a place be if you're thinking about it in machu picchu? or schenectady, for that matter? and of course, it connects to their audience because who doesn't want to eat at a restaurant that has your picture on its walls?

is it scalable for a national chain? absolutely. would it be as authentic as this effort? it could, depending on the way it's executed. should i stop asking myself questions? probably yes.

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