Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dill Chips for Toys



The holidays will be different for every family this year. We have experienced an economic meltdown that no one in our lifetime has experienced. Most of us will continue to buy gifts for our loved ones; but, most certainly, most of us will be buying less.

What is worse than “less?” How about none? Some children awake lucky to just have a warm breakfast. That’s why Scotty works with the Toys For Tots program to collect toys for, not only, this organization; but, also Riley Children’s Hospital.

“We don’t deserve the recognition for this charitable contribution,” said Scotty Wise, owner of Scotty’s Brewhouse. “The Marine’s established a great program, they distribute them to local children and the donations come from our giving guests. We are just the middle man and I’m happy to help put smiles on children’s faces however I can facilitate that.”



The Toys For Tots program was started in 1948 by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Every year they collect around 1,000+ new unwrapped toys for underprivileged children in Indiana.

“This is our 4th year of the toy drive for the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation. It is a terrific cause to bring new toys to those children who would otherwise not have a present to open this holiday season. The best part [about this program] is that the donations go directly to the children in our own communities,” said Amber Martin, Beverage & Promotions Director for Scotty’s Brewhouse.

All the toys that are donated to any Scotty’s Brewhouse location are distributed to children who are on the Salvation Army recipient list.

“I, personally, do it [Toys For Tots] because I feel it's good to help out, without those you're helping knowing who you are,” said John Bultman, U.S. Marine.
Each of the five Scotty’s Brewhouse locations are looking to collect at least 50 toys each, this season.

“Children have a special place in all of our hearts at Scotty's. There could not be a better time to make the Holidays special for as many children as possible,” said Martin.

For every toy donated Scotty’s is offering a free order of Dill Chips.
Toys are being colleted at all locations November 27 - December 15. Donate a new, unwrapped toy and make a child smile while you enjoy an order of dill chips on the house.

Log on to www.toysfortots.org for more information on the Toys for Tots program. Want more information on Scotty’s Brewhouse? Log on to www.scottysbrewhouse.com, friend us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Red Wagon Hot Chocolate that Warms the Soul


Remember coming in out of the cold, all bundled up, you shake the snowflakes off your mittens and mom hands you a cup of steaming hot cocoa with marshmallow fluff on top? Well, even if you weren’t lucky enough to experience this, now you can at Scotty’s Brewhouse. But, what makes it taste even better? It will be warming your soul as well as the kids from Riley Children’s Hospital.

All 5 Scotty’s Brewhouse locations are offering Ghyslain Chocolatier Red Wagon Hot Cocoa topped with marshmallow fluff throughout the winter months. For every mug purchased, $1 will go to Riley Children’s Hospital of Indianapolis.

Ghyslain Chocolatier is an Indiana born company located in Union City, IN and has recently expanded to Richmond, IN and Zionsville, IN. Ghyslain Maurais was born in Quebec, Canada where he found his culinary passion and turned that passion into a business, much like Scotty Wise, owner of Scotty’s Brewhouse.

“I’ve never been satisfied with the Hot Chocolate that we were serving,” said Wise, “It is kind of in my nature to constantly work at making our products better.”
While Wise was visiting the open house of Ghyslain’s newest location in Zionsville at The Sanctuary, the light bulb went off. A local company, a passionate chocolatier and a superb product, Wise had found what he was looking for.

“The ideas are always the easiest,” said Wise, “it always comes down to implementation and what we have to do to make the idea work.”

After Wise, his Beverage Director, Amber Martin, and Kitchen Manager of Scotty’s Brewhouse on 96th Street, Angie Vosmeier, were able to determine that the product could be delivered to all 5 locations, marshmallow fluff could be acquired and the bartenders could make this all work with hot milk, the idea of incorporating one of the Brewhouse’s favorite charities came into play.



“The Red Wagon Hot Cocoa is really a win-win in regards to supporting a fantastic local chocolatier such as Ghyslain as well as providing another means to help the Riley Children's Foundation,” said Martin.

Riley Hospital for Children is Indiana’s only hospital that is completely dedicated to the care of children and have been since 1924. “Every year children from all 92 Indiana counties come to Riley Hospital. Riley Children’s Foundation [where the hot cocoa money goes] supports Riley Hospital, Camp Riley for Youth with Physical Disabilities and the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home. Providing the highest level of care to children is Riley’s first priority, community support helps make this possible,” said Jason Mueller, Communications Manager for the Riley Children’s Foundation.

Hot chocolate is offered at all locations throughout January 30th. You can become involved by making a contribution at Scotty’s Brewhouse locations, visiting RileyKids.org or calling Riley Children’s Foundation at 877-867-4539. Want more information on Scotty’s Brewhouse? Log on to www.scottysbrewhouse.com or friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.com/brewhouse.

Friday, November 20, 2009

#indytweetsgiving

I would love to live on the beach. I love the ocean. I love the sun. I love being outdoors. But, more than anything, I really love my family and the people of the midwest, Indiana specifically. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for having 3 beautiful, healthy children, a caring & nurturing wife that works 35 hours outside of the house and another 100 inside the house, 2 healthy loving parents, 2 healthy beautiful sisters, 2 great brother-in-laws, 4 (soon-to-be 5) nephews and nieces and dozens of great friends. I have 500 incredible, caring, hard working and loyal employees and 1,000's of caring, supportive and great customers that make my personal dream a reality.

I'm sure I will curse the snow, sleet and weather a few times before Spring comes around; but, mostly, I am thankful for this place I call home.

Happy Thanksgiving (and #indytweetsgiving)

Scotty

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Opinions are like A-Holes...

Pet Peeve - –noun
a particular and often continual annoyance; personal bugbear: This train service is one of my pet peeves. Origin: 1915–20, Americanism

So, I have a new, “continual annoyance.” I’m starting to get “rubbed the wrong way” by people telling me how and how not to use Twitter and Social Media. In my guestimation, the phenomenon known as Social Media has only been around for 3 years, max. And, that’s if you were really savvy and jumped on the bandwagon early. I’m not even going to single out any group of people that I see this come from the most… I’m just generalizing. If you don’t like my Tweets, don’t follow me – it is really pretty simple. Since they don’t offer a degree in Social Media, I’m going to say you are no more of an expert than my 2 year old son. It is just 140 characters of whatever YOU want to talk about and whomever CHOOSES to read it. That’s it.

I’m not even talking about sex, religion, race or any other controversial topics. No, as a restauranteur, I keep my posts closest to my heart’s love and that would be food, drink and sport.

Does Social Media blur the lines for professionals? Well sure. Just as much as false Wikepedia entries or any other “internet research,” the world wide web is full of poisonous spiders. Aren’t journalists always supposed to have more than one source to back up facts? Same thing applies with Social Media. You don’t have to base fact upon one person’s opinion or tweet.

Lately I’ve been reading “reviewers” and “bloggers” disagree with a new form of marketing for restaurants called TasteCasting. I have read that they should be using AFJ guidelines when “reviewing” a restaurant. However, these are not “reviews” and should not be marketed as such or confused as such. At this infancy stage of growth for TasteCasting, the guidelines set forth are described as (from tastecasting.com) “…a team of socially networked, and social media savvy people that establishments invite to attend a complimentary tasting. In exchange the TasteCasting team broadcasts to their collective network of friends, followers and linked connections using Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, WordPress, Flickr and more…”

I don’t believe any TasteCaster is encouraged to lie or bend truths if they don’t enjoy an entrĂ©e, service or the environment. I believe the restaurant is still held accountable. I’m sure free food skews an unbiased review and, from the restaurant owner’s table, it is much easier to prepare for a group that is doing this KNOWING when they are coming vs. a traditional review. But, the point is, these are not professional reviews and are not seen as such. I would bet that a professional journalist or food critic has many different followers/friends than a TasteCaster. Therefore, the information being sent by the TasteCaster is more marketing and opinion than they type of information that may be sent by a professional food critic.

In my opinion, TasteCasting is a great, beneficial resource for restaurants in an economy that has taken most traditional forms of expensive media spending out of our reaches. If you think that these events blur or threaten your expertise, then don’t read them. If you think these events confuse the average consumer or palette of the dining guest, then it is your job to educate them as such.

Personally, I don’t listen to critics – I like to form my own opinion on everything from food, to wine, to movies. I’ve always believed in the old adage: “Opinions are like assholes. Everyone’s got one and most of them stink.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mac & Bleu

Not all macaroni and cheese is created equal. Scotty’s Brewhouse has one that soars above the rest. Recently Scotty’s mac and cheese with bleu cheese crumbles and Cajun spices was ranked in the elite 8 of Best of Indy’s ‘Macaroni and Bleu,’ along with such restaurants as St. Elmos and the Scholars Inn.

“We decided to go with macaroni and cheese [as the contest] because there are so many interesting varieties in Indianapolis. Gourmet mac and cheese has been a trend for the past several years, and we wanted to put those offerings against the tried-and-true traditional versions around town. Our high scorers ended up being a diverse group, with everyone from 14 West to Scotty's to Jacquie's Catering,” said Courtney Leach, Editor of Indianapolis Dine.

In order to be considered for the contest the recipe had to be an original and not ordered from a supplier. Each entry made to the Best of Indy’s ‘Macaroni and Bleu’ contest was awarded a score based on flavor, appearance, texture and more.

“The creamy bleu cheese adds flavor and texture, and the Cajun adds a nice bite [to the recipe],” said Luke Duncan, Scotty’s Brewhouse Director of Kitchen Operations.
“Winning this award is a nice nod to the fact that simplicity mixed with great ingredients can beat some fancy pants stuff,” said Duncan.

Macaroni and cheese was a part of most every child’s youth. The comfort feeling of “home cooking” can be tasted while spooning in the cheese-filled pasta shells.
“Personally, I think it has to either be an exceptional version of the homestyle mac and cheese we all grew up on, or it has to be a gourmet version that still appeals to the every day diner. Across the board, all of the components -- the sauce, the noodles, any toppings-- have to be executed exceptionally well to place in the top ten,” said Leach.

Like most items on the Brewhouse menu, what gives the mac and cheese character is simplicity and the made-from-scratch recipe.

“It costs more and can be difficult for consistency’s sake,” said Scott Wise, owner of Scotty’s Brewhouse, “but, putting in the extra effort to make our sauces every morning, order fresh produce daily and hand patty all our burgers – this is one of the secrets to our success.”

Scotty's was the only entry incorporating bleu cheese, earning it high marks for its similarities to pizza in flavor.

When looking to pair this recipe with something else on the brewhouse menu, “Beer, Beer, Beer,” said Duncan.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Twitter #onebadmofo Contest

This promotional idea was the brain child of Ryan Cox (@coxymoney @schindigs) - follow Ryan on Twitter.

It is this easy, EAT AT SCOTTY'S.

Take a twitpic of your food or beverage. Send out a tweet with the pic, your comments and our hashtag, #onebadmofo

EVERY DAY I will choose 1 person that does this and send you a FREE $10 Comp to use on your next visit.

It is that easy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

If you don't have brothers or sisters, you can stop reading now.

I have 2 sisters whom I love dearly. They both live in HHI and Charleston, have children and great husbands and families.

It is funny, though, how time or distance (or both) makes you really love, respect and miss your family. My sisters are worried that when my parents pass away, we will become disconnected and quit visiting each other. It’s sad to think about; but, something that could really happen without work from all families.

You all know how tough life is. The most precious asset we all take for granted is time. And, the minute we have a few seconds, minutes or day to ourselves, we often want just that – time to ourselves. Time is such a precious commodity and often the best gift, however, that you can give someone. I’m the first to admit I’m selfish; but, I won’t ever let my sister’s bond grow stale, cold and distant.

I can remember wanting to choke them both out in a UFC-esque strangle hold until they tapped out in high school. Maybe it was due to the fact that we were so close in age. Maybe it was the fact that Jessie could whip my ass on the basketball court and was one of the best high school girls players I had seen. Or, maybe it was the fact that they sprouted boobs and good looks, so all my friends decided it was time to start hanging out at my house more often.

But, those times are gone now. Now there is this new found respect and fondness for each other, each other's kids and families and just a sense of familial love...

I know that this isn't the case across the board. Brothers and sisters can do wicked mean things to each other, even beyond those years of high school...

As your Zen guru guide through Scotty's Blog today, I would just say this…

Life is too short to hold grudges. How many times do you have to hear your dad say, "Well, my dad came from a different time. We didn't hug or tell each other we loved them. Now that he is gone, I wish I would have been the bigger man and did this before he was lying in his hospital bed whispering his last breaths of life."

So, go hug your sister, brother, mom, dad, uncle, aunt, grandma or grandpa and tell them you love them today. And, don't send an email – tell them in person!

Monday, October 12, 2009

October Anniversaries

West Lafayette:

Four Year
o Courtney Slauter- Server/Bar

Three Year
o Rob Guzman- Kitchen
o Alecia Monett- Server

Two Year
o Michael Baron- Kitchen

One Year
o Victoria Boyle- Host
o Toran Fiene- Server
o Kaitlin Kaminsky- Server
o David Klass- Kitchen
o William Soeurt- Kitchen
o Stephen Utterback- Server

Muncie:

Three Year
o Jacqueline Pacyk- Server

One Year
o Emily Lomax- Server
o Heather Wamsley- Host

Bloomington:

Four Year
o Adam Lamping- KM

One Year
o Ryan Butner- Bar
o Issac Copeland- Kit
o Natasha Guy- Server

Downtown Indy:

Two Year
o Noah Ayers- Server

96th Street Indy:

Five Year
o Craig Adkins- Server
o Jeff Parthun- Kitchen

Three Year
o Charles Fry- Bar
o Nancy Honan- Bar
o Natalie Walker- Bar

One Year
o Rene Booker- Host
o Teri Davis- Server
o Kylie Groover- Server
o Tricia Hornsby- Bar
o Mike Souviner- Kit
o Kevin Wagner- Server

Corporate Team:

Three Year
o Crystal Ward

Two Year
o Lauren Fiedler

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Think Pink, Drink Pink

Breast Cancer touches million of lives each year and is supported throughout the country with the symbolic color pink. This year Scotty’s Brewhouse is running a “Think Pink, Drink Pink,” campaign to coincide with October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month.

In October for every $9 Lucy’s Cosmo purchased, $1 of every drink sold will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

“We decided on the Lucy Cosmo because it is one of our most famous drinks, and of course because it is pink,” said Amber Martin, Scotty’s Brewhouse Beverage and Promotions Director.

Scotty’s will also be selling shirts that adorn the breast cancer ribbon and the slogan “proud in pink, until there’s a cure.” The creative team behind the Brewhouse apparel also made a men’s shirt with the slogan, “Real Men Wear Pink.”

“We had so much demand for these in the past, that we are bringing them back,” said Martin.

The shirts are available in S-XXL and run $20 a piece. $5 from every regular priced shirt sold will be donated to the cause. There are other ways to get involved with this organization such as volunteering, joining their e-newsletter, or just increasing awareness of breast health issues among those you know.

“We would like [Scotty’s Brewhouse Customers] to remind everyone they know to get their annual mammogram and support the cause by supporting the organizations that are raising money,” said Dana Curish, Executive Director of the Susan G. Komen Indianapolis Affiliate.

“I decided I wanted to do something for this cause because breast cancer has such a wide-reaching effect on almost every person in the country. My grandmother had breast cancer and a mastectomy. Knowing that cancer is very hereditary, I am trying to promote a lifestyle of awareness and prevention. I think that the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation has done a great job promoting October as the month to give attention to this cause,” said Scott Wise, owner of Scotty’s Brewhouse.

One in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer throughout their lives. This means that almost everyone will be touched in some way by this disease.

Everyone in the Brewhouse family is doing their part, “we are trying to teach our customers and staff that breast cancer can happen to anyone, even someone they love so they should support the cause,” said Martin.

For more ideas on how to help, visit the Susan G. Komen foundations website at www.komenindy.com. If you have a cause which you would like for Scotty’s Brewhouse to get involved with e-mail Amber Martin at amartin@scottysbrewhouse.com or locate a manager at your closest location. Scotty’s Brewhouse is always looking for more ways to help and do all they can every day.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday, June 08, 2007 (the date I originally wrote this blog - re-posted today)

9/11

Sidenote: This blog is not written to defend right or wrong, what is happening in Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan and not to talk about political parties or anything else of that nature.

Do you remember where you were when you heard/saw? That's always the question asked, isn't it? Scotty's Brewhouse had been open for 5 years in Muncie. We had been open in Bloomington for 2 years. Tuesdays were the day I held a management meeting. Every Tuesday, 8 am.

I'm the kind of person that needs background noise to keep me sane. I don't watch the tv or listen to the radio; but, I need it on just as a distraction.

This being said, my desk and I faced the managers. Their backs were to the tv across the room in my office. I don't remember what I was probably "yelling" at them about; but, 10 minutes later, it really didn't matter that our servers were not cleaning their tables fast enough… thousands of people had just died.

You know how you think back to "flashbacks" in your life and you remember little snippets, like a little piece of a movie? That's how I remembered that day, I can remember peering over one of my managers heads, seeing the tv screen and wondering, "what the hell did that plane just crash into a building for?" I remember the rest of the day was so "dreary and foggy."

It felt like the feeling you had as a kid when you couldn't find your mom or dad in the grocery store or mall. You felt lost, with no hope. The person or thing that is supposed to protect you and hold you when you are scared, was gone. That's how I felt that day. I felt like Mom/Dad United States couldn't protect us, we didn't know what was happening, where it was happening next or why. That feeling of desperation and fright will stick with me forever.

There's another reason why I will never forget 9/11.

It's my birthday.

I've never been sad to share this day with those that lost their lives. For God's sake, I'm still alive and celebrating life, how could I be upset about that. At first, I hated giving my birth date to people on the phone, or in the airport, for credit card authorizations or the like. People always said, "I'm sorry."

Sorry for what? I'm not sorry. I'm proud. I'm proud to remember those people every year. It is not my day, it is theirs. Hell, birthdays lose their panache after the age of 21 anyway. And, very few of my friends forget my birthday now. The fact that it is tied to one of, if not the, worst tragedies in American history… more than 3000 people will never celebrate a birthday again.

I love to shop. I know, weird being a heterosexual male and all. Might have been the 2 sisters and no brothers that did that to me. So, I'm "metro." And, I love New York. My mom, dad, wife and I would take a trip to New York every Fall to shop and see a Broadway show.

We had our annual trip planned for late September that year of the tragedy. We all talked and decided, if they are letting planes fly into NYC, we will still go. New York needed the support of tourists at that time more than ever.

I will tell you what, I will never, ever forget that trip. From the armed guards and dogs at the airport, to talking to people in the stores. I would ask the clerk if they felt comfortable talking about it, to tell me where they were. I heard stories of some of them waking up and seeing it all happen out there window, to one person that just started running across the bridges covered in soot, dust and crying…

We decided to go visit one of the fire stations that lost many men and women in the tragedy. In front of the fire station were banquet tables set out covered with pictures of the fallen, candles burning, flowers, cards… There were cards from school children from all over the United States.

As I was looking and watching, I didn't notice but one of the firemen was behind me watching us. He was tall, burly and looked tired. I turned around and walked up to him, stuck my hand out and pulled him into me with a warm hug/embrace. I just told him, "we are here for you." As I pulled away and wiped my tears, I watched him cry and walk away.

September 11 will never be forgotten.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Road Rage with Age...

So, I'm driving down Allisonville and I'm in the left lane. Why? Well, the right lane merges into the left lane in about 200 yards. This happens many times a day, as this is my route home. So, I am very accustomed to what is about to happen. But, nonetheless, it still drives me abso-fucking-lutely bonkers every time.

I glance over to the right and I see Cowboy Bob in his pick up truck. His dog "Skeeter" is in the back. His wife sits beside him touching up her 3 foot thick foundation of makeup, while spraying a fresh coat of Aqua Net Hairspray into her State Fair hair.

Cowboy Bob looks over at me while chewing on a tumbleweed and tips his hat. This is a sign that it's "Go Time." It's time to play a little game of chicken. So, like all men in my family that posses a common trait called ROAD RAGE, I floor it and give him no room to squeeze into my lane. For fuck's sake, he knew his lane was merging, he call fall behind. I win this round; but, like I said, this scenario plays out many times a day. Depending my mood and how the day went, decides whether I turn into Tony "Scotty" Stewart, or Ja-Ja-Ja-Ja-Jimmy Stewart.

If you are over the age of 80, I'm not shittin' – YOU need to turn in your driver's license. Either that, or you have to use the pedal on the right. It is called the "gas" pedal. Use it!

If you drive on the highway, I have 2 BIG rules that everyone needs to start using:

1)
Use your Cruise Control damn it! You people that drive up on my ass, I get over to let you pass and then you decide to let up and let me drive right up on you… for God's sake man, if I didn't have a son to take care of I would like to just drive right into your ass like Kobe in Colorado!

2)
Do not sit in the left lane. This is the FAST lane. It is your duty as an American to get over to the right and let me pass you. I don't care if a Semi is 300 yards away, let me get around you. You can come back over and clog up the highway after I zoom past.

SIDENOTE: all police officers reading this, remember that Scotty's Brewhouse offers uniformed officers 25% off, daily. I also only drive the speed limit. If you still aren't impressed, then go back to eating your donut, Ponch.

A few other miscellaneous peeves:

Unless you want a serious case of whiplash, use your turn signal. GMC put it on your car for a reason.

If you are in a convertible and you have the top down, why do you put the windows up? If it is to protect your hair, it is too windy or too hot/cold – then put the top back up dildo.

If you have a bumper sticker that says something like, "My kid is on the Honor Roll at…" I've given Slater permission to kick your kid's ass when he is in school.

Please don't put more than 2 bumper stickers on your car. (allowing for a Scotty's sticker and a Colts sticker).

If you are shopping at Marsh or picking up some treats for Spot at Petsmart, do me a favor. Just respect the fact that I'm in a 3000 pound machine that could make you look like a Bloody Mary Pancake. I'm gonna' let you walk by; but, just be a little respectful about it. Maybe a little wave to say thank you. Or, maybe that fake "run/walk" where your legs still go the same speed; but, your arms are moving quicker – to give the illusion that you are walking quickly to get out of my way.

Alright, I'm sure I'll think of more as I drive around today. If you have some you'd like to add, I'd love to hear from you, post your pet peeves here.

Monday, August 3, 2009

TasteCasting Tweets

TrevorYagerSorry you missed it! The food was great! RT @GloveBoxGourmet: @TrevorYager I'm there @brewhouse in spirit. Whatever the heck that means. ;)
about 10 hours ago from TweetDeck
30KMillionaires@brewhouse : #tastecasting was unreal!! thank you so much...i have to say the PB burger and the cini mini dessert-unreal
about 10 hours ago from web
jthomas327had a great time at Scotty's @brewhouse tonight - slater's buttercup dessert was delicious! perfect ending to a fun night!
about 11 hours ago from web
schpokScotty's @Brewhouse now has the Dyson Airblade hand dryer in the Downtown Indy resturant's bathroom. Very nice. Yeah, I noticed.
about 11 hours ago from Tweetie in reply to brewhouse
sssemesterGah! I knew I shoulda tried it. Next time...next time. RT @TrevorYager: Shewman burger @brewhouse rocks!
about 11 hours ago from TweetDeck
josephjames@brewhouse The #tastecasting was great man. Babysitting though? Maybe next time. :)
about 11 hours ago from Tweetie in reply to brewhouse
KatiesawrieThe suga' momma dessert really hit the spot, thanks Scott for having us tonight! @brewhouse #tastecasting
about 12 hours ago from Tweed
ryansawrieThat desert really was a monster. A monster I could not defeat. Can you box up ice cream? @brewhouse #tastecasting http://twitpic.com/ckpdo
about 12 hours ago from TweetDeck
sssemester@brewhouse Thanks for hosting tonight, Scotty. A great meal in a great place...although the portions are HUGE! I'm a big boy and couldn' ...
about 12 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to brewhouse
KatiesawrieWhen you are at Scotty's @brewhouse use the bathroom...the hand dryers are awesome, they really blow! #tastecasting
about 12 hours ago from Tweed
broellieroThe peanut butter pie @brewhouse tastes like fudge. soooooo good!
about 12 hours ago from txt
sssemesterI think @jojosmojo's @brewhouse dinner had the word "mofo" in its name. RT @Jim4: @sssemester did any of you try the "mofo".
about 12 hours ago from TweetDeck
ryansawrieGoing for desert even though I'm totally full from the awesome food at @brewhouse. Bring on the Cookie Monster! #tastecasting
about 12 hours ago from TweetDeck
EfriedlandGerman chocolate cake is HUGE. Holy lord. @brewhouse
about 12 hours ago from UberTwitter
TrevorYagerFound out most of the desserts @brewhouse are recipes from Scott's mother-in-law's family.
about 12 hours ago from txt
TrevorYagerI'm full, but going for "slater's a butter cup" @brewhouse
about 12 hours ago from txt
KatiesawrieEverything has been delicious so far, I'm excited to take a look at this huge dessert menu Scotty's offers @brewhouse @tastecasting
about 12 hours ago from Tweed
EfriedlandStuffed from loaded baked potatoes and Caesar wrap, but just ordered German chocolate cake. Kill me. @brewhouse #tastecasting
about 12 hours ago from UberTwitter
nancymyrlandGood 2 know! RT @sssemester: Great meal and conversation with @jojosmojo. Nice that @brewhouse is lively & fun but quiet enough to talk.
about 12 hours ago from TweetDeck
TrevorYagerShewman burger @brewhouse rocks!
about 12 hours ago from txt
alliecpiazzaWaffle fries from @brewhouse = amazing. #brewhouse #indianapolis
about 12 hours ago from txt
ryansawriePeanut butter, jalapenos, and bacon. What could make a better burger? @brewhouse #tastecasting http://twitpic.com/ckj2a
about 12 hours ago from TweetDeck
sssemesterYou want to use the restroom @brewhouse. Dyson AirBlade hand dryer FTW! #brewhouse #tastecasting
about 12 hours ago from txt
broellieroEating on a lunch tray @brewhouse. Too fun!
about 12 hours ago from txt
NickMcMurrayBut if you do happen to be a Cubs fan, I guess @brewhouse is the placeto watch them.
about 13 hours ago from UberTwitter
sssemesterGreat meal and conversation with @jojosmojo. Nice that @brewhouse is lively & fun but quiet enough to talk. #tastecasting
about 13 hours ago from txt
jojosmojo@brewhouse #tastecasting mo' fo' chicken lite was tasty w/ cool down sauce & waffle fries. Enjoying company of @sssemester.
about 13 hours ago from Tweetie
NickMcMurrayYou can watch TV while you eat at @brewhouse http://mypict.me/gPoj
about 13 hours ago from UberTwitter
broellieroJust learned that you can add a scoop of icecream to any soda for $1! :) @brewhouse
about 13 hours ago from txt
alliecpiazzaSo excited for the mo'fo mary (bloody mary) I just ordered at @brewhouse
about 13 hours ago from txt
KatiesawriePortabella mushroom cap was a good choice, especially with guacamole, @brewhouse
about 13 hours ago from Tweed
CasLikeThatRocking @brewhouse with @30kmillionaires and @josephjames.
about 13 hours ago from mobile web
NickMcMurrayJust ordered the loaded waffle burger @brewhouse and some mac and cheese on the side.
about 13 hours ago from UberTwitter
TrendyMindsWe're at Scotty's @Brewhouse for tonight's @tastecasting - smart owner, solid concept, scrumptious food!
about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck
KatiesawrieClever idea at Scottys @brewhouse to serve coffee in your own french press
about 13 hours ago from Tweed
TheHungryBrickRT @brewhouse: By the way, anyone at the #tastecasting that wants to babysit for 4 month old twins so I can have a beer next time has my ...
about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck
GloveBoxGourmetRT @brewhouse: By the way, anyone at the #tastecasting that wants to babysit for 4 month old twins so I can have a beer next time has my ...
about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck
jojosmojo@brewhouse #tastecasting Great French press coffee. In a brew pub. Go figure...
about 13 hours ago from Tweetie
sssemesterIt's my 1st time at @brewhouse. Therefore, you know I must try the buffalo chicken sandwich - there's no other choice. #tastecasting
about 13 hours ago from txt
LANeville@brewhouse You can always call me when your nanny has days/nights off! I have a way with kids: give them what they want & run! It works!
about 13 hours ago from TwitterFon in reply to brewhouse
NickMcMurraygotta love dill pickle chips. @brewhouse #tastecasting
about 13 hours ago from UberTwitter
AkilahOnTheRisehaving an awesome dinner at @brewhouse downtown. mmm mmm mmm!
about 13 hours ago from mobile web
KatiesawrieLove all the options for the "Build your own burger" at Scottys @brewhouse
about 13 hours ago from Tweed
broelliero#tastecasting @brewhouse (scotty's) 2nd best mini burgers i've ever had!
about 13 hours ago from txt
EfriedlandNot sure what this cheesy garlicy dip is called. But I am in love with it. @brewhouse #tastecasting
about 13 hours ago from UberTwitter
ryansawrieToo many great options to choose from at @brewhouse. I'm going with the Shewman Special burger. #tastecasting
about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck
GloveBoxGourmet@TrevorYager I'm there @brewhouse in spirit. Whatever the heck that means. ;)
about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to TrevorYager
GloveBoxGourmetRT @TrevorYager: WOW! Scotty's @brewhouse owner (Scott) offers a unique place. I love it when an owner's character shines through the biz.
about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck
sssemesterThe @brewhouse menu is so big, it deserves a capital M. #Brewhouse #TasteCasting
about 13 hours ago from txt
TrevorYagerWOW! Scotty's @brewhouse owner (Scott) offers a unique place. I love it when an owner's character shines through the biz.
about 13 hours ago from txt
GloveBoxGourmet@EvanStrange How are the fried pickles from @brewhouse?
about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to EvanStrange
ryansawrieScott Wise is the an awesome restaurant owner. He definitely "gets" social media. #tastecasting @brewhouse
about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck
GloveBoxGourmet@brewhouse Wish I were at #tastecasting with the gang!
about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck
GloveBoxGourmetRT @EvanStrange: Had to get a plate full of fried pickles @brewhouse for #tastecasting, now listening to owner scot wise- cool guy who l ...
about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck
EvanStrangeHad to get a plate full of fried pickles @brewhouse for #tastecasting, now listening to owner scot wise- cool guy who listens to the cus ...
about 13 hours ago from txt
AdrienneBaileyOne of the best weekends with my favorite people- camping, whiskey and dave matthews treated me well. Now cowing down @brewhouse
about 13 hours ago from UberTwitter
EfriedlandScotty from @brewhouse talking. Smart restaurant owner who serves great food and gets social media. Doesn't hurt that he's cute too!
about 13 hours ago from UberTwitter
jojosmojo@brewhouse #tastecasting http://bit.ly/BuHpT http://yfrog.com/7hk06vj
about 14 hours ago from Tweetie
sssemesterMade it to @TasteCasting. Thanks, @brewhouse!
about 14 hours ago from txt
jojosmojo@brewhouse #tastecasting appetizers are out. Hurry while they're hot. Fried pickles?!? Not my fave...
about 14 hours ago from Tweetie
EfriedlandAppetizers out @brewhouse! #tastecasting
about 14 hours ago from UberTwitter
8101harris@efriedland Have a great time at the @brewhouse in Indianapolis. Watching from a far.
about 14 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to Efriedland
EfriedlandFirst one @brewhouse for the #tastecasting - excited to see everybody and eat, drink and be merry!
about 14 hours ago from UberTwitter
30KMillionairesheading downtown to @brewhouse for the tastecasting event!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Managing an Online Reputation - New York Times

Managing an Online Reputation

By KERMIT PATTISON

Quick Tips:

Set up automatic alerts to notify you when your business is mentioned in a review or blog.

Local search sites are the new Yellow Pages -- make sure your business is listed. The more complete your listing, the more likely you are to get good search results.

Respond to reviews to show readers that you are listening and that you care about customer service.

Online reviews are a gold mine of business intelligence. Analyze metrics to get a better sense of your customer demographics.

Don’t write false reviews to puff your business or trash a competitor. You can severely damage your reputation...and look really silly.

Suggested Reading:

Tips from Yelp on responding to positive or negative reviews.

A guide to Web tools to track your online reputation.
Your customers are talking about you — and the whole world is listening.

Local review sites are reshaping the world of small business by becoming the new Yellow Pages, one-stop platforms where customers can find a business — and also see independent critiques of its performance.

How do you manage your reputation when everybody is a critic?

For some business owners, this is a terrifying prospect that seems more like mob rule than the wisdom of crowds. Negative reviews can hang an albatross around your neck if they appear prominently in search results. Happily, there is a big upside: referrals from happy clients are traditionally the best source of new business — and online forums are powerful word-of-mouth. The review process has been democratized.

But managing your online reputation requires a whole new skill set, including monitoring the online conversation and engaging with customers and the tech-savvy to promote yourself in the best channels. These skills are becoming essential for mainstream businesses. According to a survey by the Opinion Research Corporation, 84 percent of Americans say online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. (Still not convinced? Tell us why.)

“Social media for business now is life or death,” said Dan Simons, a restaurateur in the Washington area who closely monitors these forums. “You could open a business and do everything right, but if you’re unaware of these social media you will perish. Social media can take a business and put a bullet in it.”

Monitor

Customers are abuzz with opinions — the only question is whether that buzzing reaches your ears. The first step is to tune in.

Do a vanity search of your business name and see what comes up. Are you easy to find? What is the first impression? Do you have a Web page and blog, and are they kept up do date? Is your business reviewed in online forums or blogs?

Try to see your business through the eyes of a customer. Indeed, customers increasingly shop with their browser. One study by the Yellow Pages Association and comScore found that local search for businesses, products and services grew 58 percent last year and reached 15.7 billion searches, more than a tenth of overall search traffic.

Study local search sites like Yelp, Citysearch and Yahoo! Local. Forums for customer feedback have sprung up everywhere —_Google Maps, Amazon, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, Epinions and a myriad of online communities and niche sites.

“Know who the influencers are,” said Pete Blackshaw, executive vice president of Nielsen Online Digital Strategic Service and an expert on consumer-generated media. “There are going to be some megaphones that matter more than others.”

Build systems to stay on top of this online buzz. A Google alert can automatically inform you when your business is mentioned in a review, blog or online publication. Some review sites have features that automatically send e-mail alerts to business owners when a review is posted.

Twitter is becoming an increasingly popular microblogging platform for businesses and customers and you can keep track of what is being said about your company with tools like search.twitter.com, TweetDeck, or Twendz .

Manage

Once you’ve tuned into the online conversation, the tricky part is managing it.

Claim your listing on the local search sites. Many of these listings are free (although some sites offer premium services only to advertisers). The more detailed your profile, the more readily your business will appear in search results.

Responding to reviews is a delicate act of customer relations. A snarky review may make your blood boil — if so, step away from the keyboard and calm down until you can respond graciously.

“Hands down, when I’ve seen a conflict, it’s usually because the business owner is enraged, furious or personally hurt,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, chief executive and co-founder of Yelp. “Give yourself some time to cool off and engage in a respectful, courteous manner.”

You don’t need to respond to every review, especially if the overall consensus is positive. A negative review, however, demands special attention. Some business owners post public responses to apologize and try to win back the customer. Some privately message the reviewer.

Even hostile critics sometimes are mollified by a polite response from the merchant. “They are so disarmed,” said Mr. Simons, one of the owners of Founding Farmers restaurant in Washington. “I’ve had people immediately go back in and edit what they wrote.”

Jeff Diamond, co-owner of Farmstead Cheeses and Wines, with stores in Oakland and Alameda, Calif., responds to every review on Yelp — and he’s had more than 100. In one case, a reviewer complained that the person behind the counter was rude. Mr. Diamond sent a private message to the customer, apologized and asked for details. It turned out the employee who helped this customer was hard of hearing. By the end of the exchange, this onetime critic had joined the store’s wine club. He has since become a loyal customer.

“The most important thing is not to argue with your customer,” Mr. Diamond said. “It’s to listen to your customer. Try to put yourself in the customer’s place.”

Another no-no is posting false reviews. Don’t write fake reviews to puff up your business or trash a competitor. Businesses have been publicly exposed for shilling and suffered major embarrassment. Earlier this month, authorities said the cosmetic surgery clinic Lifestyle Lift would pay $300,000 in civil penalties after an investigation by the New York State attorney general’s office found that employees had posed as plastic surgery patients to write glowing reviews of their own business — a bogus grass-roots movement known as “astroturfing.”

“If you’re stuffing the ballot box and that is detected — which it almost inevitably will be — the backlash will be really significant and come back to bite you,” said Kara Nortman, senior vice president of publishing at Citysearch.

Indeed, the surest way to generate positive reviews is not to ghost-write them but to focus on good service. “It’s all common sense — the best way to ensure that you have positive reviews is to offer good products, good service, have integrity and be diligent,” said Greg Sterling, a San Francisco-based Internet analyst who specializes in small business and local search. “It’s really just the rules of dealing with people in the real world, translated online.”

Fortunately, online reviews can help you do just that. These reviewers are a virtual army of secret shoppers who are telling you exactly what works and what doesn’t.

Look for patterns. Are people consistently complaining about poor service? Are they constantly praising something that you can emphasize to differentiate your business?

At Founding Farmers in Washington, online reviews provide so much feedback that Mr. Simons stopped hiring secret shoppers. These comments have led managers to revamp how the front desk handles reservations and walk-ins, mark the vegetarian menu more clearly, coach servers who got bad reviews and even fire some employees.

“I would say 97 percent is genuinely useful,” said Mr. Simons. “You can tell the reviews that are written by a competitor or just someone who’s mean and angry. But generally people don’t go to a restaurant to get annoyed, and there’s at least some nugget of valuable information.”

Promote

These platforms do more than help you protect your good name. They can also serve as tools for marketing, analytics and aiming at customers.

Becoming an advertiser can buy you more ability to work the crowd. Benefits vary by site, but advertisers generally get more prominent display and other tools. On Yelp, advertisers can highlight a favorite review to appear at the top of their page (the other reviews are ordered according to how recent they are and how many user votes they received). On Citysearch, advertisers can get help with copywriting or video commercials and have their content pushed out to partner sites like MapQuest, AOL CityGuide and MySpace.

These platforms also can help business owners mine customer information. For example, Yelp has a dashboard that allows business owners to keep track of page views and offer promotions.

Danny Leclair, co-owner of Studio DNA hair salons in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, Calif., checks to see how many people come to his Yelp page — and often sees spikes in traffic after special offers or new reviews. He also uses tools like statcounter.com to see what pages his clients are coming from when they click on his site.

Once he started mingling in these online communities and using their tools, he got immediate traction. He said 50 percent of his new business now comes from Yelp, 30 percent from Citysearch and 10 percent from Google searches.

“My business began to grow exponentially,” Mr. Leclair said.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Power to the People

One of my favorite groups, Public Enemy, used to wrap about this back when I was 16. Well, 20 years later, it is back, only Social Media is rapping about it now. The article below is something I sent my management team to read and understand. I copy/pasted this article from a restaurant consultant I follow named Joel Cohen.

I had this same conversation with Ryan Cox (@Coxymoney) last night at the #indytweetup at Scotty's @brewhouse on 96th St. The summation of our talk and this article was this:

The power has always been in our guest's hands/wallets. If you don't treat them well, they will go elsewhere. What is different in today's society, the power of technology and reach. The old addage used to be, "Make a guest happy and they'll tell 1 person about their experience. Make a guest mad and they will tell 10." With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and the dozens of other social media - "...make a guest mad, and they could tweet 1,000's." You won't just lose a customer, you may lose your business.

As I learn and experience more and more with social media and the hospitality field, I make only 1 plea to Tweeple - before you broadcast to 1,000's - let the owner or manager know of the problem. Give people a chance to fix their mistake. We are all human, we all care and want to try to do better (or most of us do). "I can't fix it if I don't know it's broken." After you tell me and give me ample time to correct the problem, if I still haven't rectified your issue - well, then, the Twitter world awaits you...

Read more here from Joel.

How Social Media Has Given The "Power To The People"

This past month, one of the largest and most devastatingly, yet successful online reputation attacks on a corporation took place. A huge airline was brought to its knees, humbled, shamed and reprimanded by a passenger for damaging his guitar during a flight.

Finally, after a 12 month period of the airline refusing to take his request for compensation seriously and exhibiting poor and non-responsive customer service, the passenger - a singer/songwriter - recorded a whimsical video and uploaded it to YouTube. After 4.5 million views and world-wide negative publicity about their customer service procedures, an embarrassed United Airlines finally - yes finally, took notice. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo)

The lessons for all restaurants (and all companies) no matter what size you are, are quite obvious:

The power is now in the hands of your guests to use the web to embarrass you if your service is sub-standard and problems are not remedied in a timely manner.

Viral marketing has the ability to strongly promote the positive side of your business, but also rapidly tell the negative side – a disappointing product or a bad dining or take-out experience.

To prevent negative publicity, make sure your guest service policies are reviewed and are implemented to the highest degree. Royalty service! Respond quickly to any incident, question or complaint so that customer frustration doesn’t accelerate to the point of taking the issue to the Internet.

Regularly monitor the various social media search engines to find out if anyone's talking about you. Don't think you're too small or geographically remote to be talked about positively and negatively.

The most important lesson is this - when dealing with a guest, it’s not what it will cost your restaurant now, it’s the embarrassing negative publicity and lost business it may cost you later.