Visit by Guy Fieri of “Diners, Drivie-Ins & Dives” big boost to business
“Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” celebrates independent, family-owned restaurants across the country that prepare timeless regional specialties. Customers expect personal service – and they get it. It’s no secret in the restaurant biz that when a televised Guy Fieri is shown pulling up in his cool convertible of muscle car vintage up, hanging out in the kitchen with the owner, praising the food to the skies and interviewing regulars who have been eating there “for years” (always), business picks up.These places are local institutions that have stemmed the chainification tide. Eat at a distinctive local place and you know where you are. Eat at a McBurgerDoodleBellKing-Fil-A “concept” and you could be anywhere — or nowhere at all, and what you chew and swallow will have been designed by a product development group and named by a marketing staff. Why bother?
This is a common rant of mine, but I was quite surprised when RestaurantNews.com, a trade site slavishly devoted to chains, acknowledged “The Fieri Effect,” since he simply doesn’t do big franchises. Here’s what they wrote:
“Diners, Drive-ins and Dives reaches 30 million viewers a month, and devoted fans turn to web sites like flavortownusa.com to track featured restaurants and report on recent visits. Before social media, an appearance on the show caused one massive surge in business, followed by subsequent pops each time a rerun aired. Now, with Twitter and Facebook making news of show appearances public earlier, business picks up before the show even runs.
“Restaurants have come to view an appearance on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives as an instant windfall. Those featured on the show in the past have reported doubled revenue, and some much more. But that increased revenue can come at a cost to restaurants, too, as their capacity to meet exploding demand is pushed to a brink. There’s even been talk of a Fieri Curse.
“Jason Boso, the owner of the Twisted Root burger chain, handled his new stardom flawlessly. After the show aired in 2009, sales at his original store tripled, growing from $50,000 a month to more than $150,000 a month, he says. But he was ready for the onslaught, he says, in part because Fieri warned him about smaller businesses that had been overwhelmed in the past.”
I was wondering why Fieri visited a Twisted Root Burger Company in the first place, but it turns out that it is a very small chain — seven locations at this writing, all in Texas. I don’t know how many there were three years ago it appeared on DDD. Twisted Root, a dive-theme burger place, was founded in 2005 by Jason Boso, a culinary school grad, and it’s garnered kudos from restaurant reviewers as well as the DDD team.