Finally, the burger-goodness of Truckee, Calif. has been introduced to Reno. Burger Me is now located in the Northwest, in a facility that was once occupied by Tahoe Burger. Owners Mark Estee, The Spenella Family (Jim, Debra and son, Jordan), and Tom Farina proudly introduced their burger restaurant to Truckee, Calif during the summer of 2008. The all-natural, all-organic, and locally sourced burger joint was placed in an old garage-style building, which was formerly an organic supermarket. This community-minded restaurant will not compromise on ingredients. Receiving their produce from Habeger Produce, bread from Truckee Sourdough, and meats from Sierra Meat and Seafood, you can taste the freshness of their burgers and fries. It truly makes a difference.
Facebook, Twitter and grilled cheese sandwiches served from a food truck, what a beautiful combination. The gourmet food truck craze really hit hard in 2009-2010. The idea of selling high-quality food from a truck has appealed to people all across the nation, especially to Haley Wood and Jessie Watnes.
These two wonderful women met 10 years ago, as servers at the local Archie’s. Haley is from Elko, NV and Jessie is from Reno, NV. Each of them were going to school, but they had a knack for the foodservice industry. When school was over and they set out to tackle their careers, but something was missing. The life of desk jobs, clocking in, and repetition was not what these 2 ladies had in mind.
In 2010, the girls researched the food truck phenomenon as it was all over the Food Network and other media.
“This idea was different. We are not chefs, we don’t have any fancy credentials- but we are artists. A gourmet food truck was a perfect way for us to channel our talents.”
Haley Wood is the voice behind Gourmelt’s Facebook and Twitter. Months prior to GourMelt’s first event, she was tweeting to the community creating awareness and anticipation for Reno’s new food truck. After hours of research and the blood, sweat and tears involved in the reconstruction of their food truck from 1989 (Bessie), GourMelt grilled their first sandwiches on Earth Day, 2011.
Haley and Jessie created a business plan, which involves offering a quick and quality lunch to local businesses. How it works: businesses contact GourMelt and request for them to come and sell lunch to their company. Before GourMelt started on Earth Day, they had 5 weeks of locations booked. These ladies also love the idea of supporting local businesses and enjoy bringing their crowd to various locations. GourMelt’s bread is from Reno’s House of Bread and their eggs are from Reno Egg.
The use of social media is crucial, almost reliant, to Gourmelt’s business plan. To market their business, GourMelt solely relies on Facebook and Twitter. Around 10:30am (timing of her posts is crucial) each day, Haley will tweet to over 4,000 fans the location of the truck. When it comes to social media, these two really focus on creating excitement and anticipation amongst their fans. They also keep it very simple. It’s not about sales or gimmicks, Haley only posts once a day and it is relevant and valuable information. Gourmelt serves any where from 85-140 meals per day, thanks to their tasty menu and the marketing power of Twitter and Facebook.
“When people communicate on our Facebook, they are not talking to a robot- they are talking directly with us and we respond to every question or comment.”
Hats off to Haley Wood and Jessie Watnes for their excellent execution on Facebook, another business that is leading by example. Check out their creative menu and get more info here. Become a fan of their business page and follow on Twitter so you can find out where they will be today!
In 1994 Scott and Todd Lee moved to Reno, NV from Granite Bay, CA. Scott attended UNR earning a degree in Digital Media and brother Todd worked at Cope & McPheters. Prior to moving to Reno, the 2 brothers thought this place was all lights, casinos, and hotels. They instantly fell in love with the Biggest Little City. After college Scott soon joined his big brother and helped Cope and McPheters launch their Internet sales; they were soon swimming in success. The brothers’ knack for business combined with technological skills were the perfect formula for success. In 2003, Scott and Todd purchased a home in Northwest Reno. What they didn’t know at the time was that the purchase of this home would be the key to opening their own business 3 years down the road.
Scott had turned to Feist during one of his Christmas vacations, and mentioned to Feist that he was looking for a change, he wanted to do something more than what he was doing. Feist slid his business card across the table and told Scott that when he was ready- he would be happy to help him. Months later, Scott was ready. Scott and Todd refinanced their house, which provided them with the means to open up Beach Hut Deli, Reno. Scott and Todd rounded up friends and graffiti artists Ernie and Neal; they also hired on a general contractor, “Butch Hut” to assist in the very cool and unforgettable design of their sandwich shop.
Beach Hut Deli opened on February 5, 2006 in Northwest Reno and these 2 brothers instantly hit the ground running. Scott attributes a big part of their success to their prized employees. Scott and Todd are very meticulous in whom they bring on to their team. They look for driven people who understand the importance in teamwork. They also attribute their employees to their Facebook success. Here are the numbers:
It was a slow day for business on President’s Day 2009 when former employee Devin Noe suggested that Beach Hut Deli create a Facebook fan page as a means to drive business. Their Facebook presence was created, and from there Devin requested that all of her 700+ friends “like” the cool sandwich shop where she was working, so did Carrie Potter, so did Miranda Montejo and so did Kinslee Scamaldo. Before Scott and Todd knew it, they had a whole slew (1,000+) of followers on Facebook- Scott even compares it to a cult! Here’s his strategy:
“It’s all about timing. You can’t post a picture of a sandwich at 8 am, or announce your happy hour specials at 9 am…we have to strategically plan each of our posts. I do about 11 posts a day which consist of pictures of sandwiches and beer specials. I utilize Facebook and Twitter to set-up our day for the lunch and dinner rushes. When it’s really slow, I will have all my employees go on their Facebook pages and post something about Beach Hut to bring some business in.”
Scott and Todd will feature a couple sandwiches for the day, and sure enough during their lunch rush several will mention that they saw a picture of the Surfin’ Bird on Facebook and it looked so good, they had to have one. I will vouch for Beach Hut Deli- the pictures of the sandwiches are exactly what you can expect when you order. What? A restaurant that serves the food as advertised? Yes! Beach Hut Deli will also give you a free cookie if you “check-in” upon arrival.
I asked Scott if he has had complaints about his service on Facebook and he said yes. He said he will handle complaints utilizing the direct message feature on Facebook and invite them to come back in so he can fix his error. On one specific occasion there was a complaint on Beach Hut’s Facebook page, and their fans immediately responded to the complaint and supported the sandwich shop. The Lee brothers feature events on Beach Hut’s page such as Nerd Friday Nights, Thirsty Thursdays, Happy Hour, Aloha Fridays. Check them out!
Beach Hut Deli will be opening another location in Downtown Reno’s Comm Row mid-April 2012. This location will be smaller and will serve more as an express stop. Stay tuned on their Facebook page for more details!
Once upon a time there was this restaurant called Moody’s in Truckee, CA. It was run and operated by a gentleman named Mark Estee for 10 years. Mark was more concerned with cooking great food and staying in the kitchen then he was with his reputation out in the public. He admitted that he was younger, maybe naïve, not nearly as polished of a business owner as he is now.
“I always understood the value of public relations and marketing. But I just figured if these people want to come in, they’ll come in. I will cook great food, provide a great atmosphere and people will come in. If they don’t that’s their problem. I did not see a value in truly connecting and interacting with the public especially by using Facebook or any other kind of social media for my business.”
Mark also admitted that social media intimidated him. He didn’t know anything about it, he didn’t want to put the time in, and he feared the negative feedback he would possibly see from opening the social media flood-gates. He was very hesitant and continued to avoid the opportunity.
Fast-forward 10 years, on November 17th 2011 Mark Estee opens Campo, Reno. When mark was sitting in his bedroom creating his mission statement and business plan, he committed himself to getting involved with social media marketing. His first step was hiring Abbi Whitaker with The Abbi Agency to help provide him with the tools he would need to begin his social media venture. Mark committed to Abbi and this is where the magic began.
“When I first started I told myself that I CAN NOT be scared, and I knew I just had to jump in. Social media marketing is a whole new playing field. It is extremely time consuming; you have got to stay on it. It takes time to be yourself and make sure you get in touch with everyone who is taking time out to support your business. I am myself. I am consistent. I can’t reply instantly to every message, I try! But I am human and I am running a business- this is me.”
One of Mark’s fears of social media soon became a reality- a couple complaints on these social media platforms caught his attention.
“I am providing great food, I have built this beautiful restaurant, I had just donated $10k to a charity- but we had one small error on our webpage and it came back to me ten-fold. I remember thinking to myself ‘who even looks at that?’ “
I asked Mark what his strategy is with handling these public complaints:
“I tell my crew that if we don’t make mistakes- we aren’t trying. I am expecting mistakes, and I know I have to deal with the consequences after-even if it is as small as our hours of operation on our website. The nice thing about social media is that I am able to immediately contact these customers directly. I investigate the situation to see what happened on our end and then I will call, email, engage, apologize, listen, and move forward- I will fix it. I won’t discuss the matter on the Web, I will take care of it privately.”
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp, Open Table, and his personal blog on Campo’s site (which is my personal favorite, check it out) have proved to this restaurant owner that social media marketing DOES have a huge impact on his business. His customers are able to connect directly with Mark as well as help him make changes to be more appealing to his clients, and that is so important to him.
“People can see that I am funny, I am approachable, I am serious about my restaurant, and they can get a feel for our presence. Social media affects my business daily.”
Once upon a time this restaurant owner didn’t believe in the use of social media to help his business grow. Fast forward 10 years (with some help from The Abbi Agency), customers can now enjoy “Minute Mondays” with Mark, where he discusses what Campo will feature this week. Also “Back of the House Fridays” where Mark will introduce a new member of the Campo team to his friends. Where can you view these weekly features you ask? Facebook, where else?