Restaurant Business and the Campaign Trail

Every four years, politicians, reporters, volunteers and activists head to Iowa and New Hampshire as the presidential campaigning begins in earnest, and restaurants are most often the venue for candidates looking to take their messages to the people.

source: SmartBlogs

Google “restaurant” today and odds are the first page of results will include more than one story featuring a politician holding court at a coffee shop, family eatery or local watering hole; not only do eateries in the early states get a business boost from the hordes of hungry politicos and journalists, but many also take center stage as media platforms.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

As it turns out, at least one restaurateur sees the events as bad for business. Restaurant owner Jeremy Colby banned politicians from Colby’s Breakfast & Lunch in Portsmouth, N.H., last week, posting a sign reading “No Politicians No Exceptions” in response to complaints from customers tired of the disruption and the political messages over breakfast, Seacoast Online reported.  Political visits make it difficult for the eateries to turn its 28 tables as quickly as it needs to, Colby said. “I find it incredibly rude. I also find it amusing that they talk about how the economy and small business is so important, yet they are OK with creating a disturbance that impacts my small business.”

Other eateries welcome the candidates. The Machine Shed in Des Moines, Iowa, welcomes the candidates and their volunteers who often take over the eatery’s dining room in the weeks leading up to caucus night, general manager Steve Britton told an ABC affiliate last week.  The caucuses have a huge impact on local restaurants, hotels and other businesses, KIMT-TV in Mason City reported.

Some candidates choose their venues carefully, in an effort to address issues of importance to specific demographic groups. In Manchester, N.H., Newt Gingrich chose a packed Latino outreach event at Don Quijote’s Mexican Restaurant to outline his position on immigration issues, ABC reported.

And at least one regional chain found its name in the national spotlight. Candidates traveling across Iowa made frequent stops to meet, greet and speak at the state’s Pizza Ranch restaurants, the Sioux City Journal reported, leading to frequent national media mentions that would have cost the company about $862,000 in paid advertising, according to one media analyst. The chain’s 77 Iowa eateries have proven popular with campaigns because many are located in county seats and small towns that offer few other options for campaign venues.

Caucuses Not an Economic Boon

In spite of a large field of 2012 Republican presidential candidates, an Iowa State University economist predicts that the economic impact surrounding the run up to Iowa’s “first-in-the-nation” precinct caucuses will not be a substantial boon to the state.

In fact, Dave Swenson, an associate scientist in ISU’s economics department, expects it will fall well short of the spending from the 2008 caucuses, which saw both parties having open races for their respective presidential nominations.

source: KCRG

Swenson authored a study in 2008 “The Economic Impact of the Iowa Caucus: Gauging the Worth of its First-in-the-Nation Position?” which found that the major presidential candidates’ economic impact to the state was $15.5 million in total sales in the six months preceding the caucuses — or about one-hundredth of 1 percent of the state’s $130 billion gross domestic product value in 2007.

Swenson says while the exposure generated by the caucuses gives them the illusion of a significant economic impact to the state, “the real impact is nowhere near as much as people assume it is.” And, he expects that impact to be even less in this campaign cycle.

“The last time [2008] we measured, it was a golden opportunity,” said Swenson, who is on the staff of ISU’s Regional Economics and Community Analysis Program. “It [nominations] was open on both sides and there was a lot of energy on both sides. And so we in Iowa probably got many more visits — both early on and for the duration — than we otherwise would have gotten.

“What we really care about in Iowa and what we tried to measure [in his 2008 study] was, withstanding the appearance of vibrancy, what are the facts? And the facts are how much money actually gets spent by buying something from an Iowa firm or paying a paycheck to an Iowa-based worker,” he continued. “And of course the big finding was the economic impact was not much. And that was in a heck of a year for spending, so this one should see even less of an impact.”

Swenson’s previous report looked at 2007 third- and fourth-quarter financial transactions by all the major candidates who campaigned in Iowa prior to the Jan. 3 caucuses, as filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports. He found that major candidates spent $352.5 million across the country in the third and fourth quarters of 2007, but just $15.5 million (7.7 percent) in Iowa.

His study showed that the campaigns’ election specialists are typically hired from Washington and other major cities, so organizational spending occurred in those states. The candidates’ travel is also coordinated centrally through travel specialists, so much of it did not take place within the state.

“As we showed, the big money gets spent in D.C., Maryland and New York, and to buy all of the things that make a campaign possible, which is way more expensive than the actual campaigning in the state,” he said. “The shoe leather campaigning in the state is cheap. All the other stuff is expensive.”

As for what the candidates did spend money on in Iowa, most was for staff payroll ($5,485,080), travel ($2,229,973), printing ($1,993,712) and event fees ($1,123,309). Those were the four categories showing transactions of more than $1 million.

Swenson’s economic impact estimate does not include spending by the large volume of national media who come to Iowa to cover the caucuses. He wrote in his report that there is no precise way to calculate this amount, particularly since he had no reliable estimate of the scope, frequency and duration of media visits.

Many members of the national and international media visited Iowa State along with thousands of GOP participants for the Ames Straw Poll on Aug. 13. But while the event drew even more media exposure — particularly with the addition of the debate two days earlier — Swenson doesn’t see a significant economic impact from it.

“With the straw poll, a few thousand people descending on Ames is the equivalent of a pretty good high school basketball game. Truly that is not that big of a deal,” he said.

“It’s not an economic boon,” Swenson said. “What we get is a lot of attention and that’s the value of it. It’s the indirect value of it. The publicity is much more valuable than any of the candidates actually spend in the state. So you just consider it a large amount of free Iowa advertising and that’s its value.

Integrating Email Marketing Into the Business Mainstream

Email marketing is a form of direct marketing where producers or sellers of goods and services get in touch with prospective buyers directly rather than through intermediary agencies.

The underlying idea is to build relationships with them through emails by providing relevant information that will tempt them to show interest in the products and services offered by the business.

source: MobilizeMail

Assimilating email marketing into the overall marketing strategy makes perfect sense since it is bound to impact growth and efficiency, besides providing access to millions of potential customers on the web.

The benefits of email marketing cannot be highlighted enough. As a platform for sharing information, emails are able to highlight the latest developments taking place in a company, creating a strong impression in the mind of the reader about the kind of effort being put in to improve, innovate and provide a better set of goods and services.

Additionally, productivity levels of people see a marked improvement, the customer base expands, while retention of existing customers also improves. This goes to show the extended reach of the business and even charting new courses as it explores new horizons.

For a number of reasons, businesses initiate email marketing as a standalone system involving a mailing list with newsletters sent at regular intervals, and efforts are made to expand the mailing list. Attempts are also made to use it as an effective communication channel. However, research reveals that most users of email marketing systems are able to realize only ten percent of its potential benefits. This can be partly attributed to the problems linked to data capture and information bottlenecks and the associated issues of time management along with spiraling costs.

Businesses would do well to incorporate email marketing systems into their mainstream activities.

Having updated databases and incorporating them into the existing systems being used, helps to reconcile differences and reap returns in the form of higher efficiency levels. Accomplishing this, along with ensuring effective time management and cost effectiveness, is easier with the aid of services like Mobilize Mail, an email service provider that takes care of bulk email deliveries for individuals and companies that are part of solicited mailing lists. It also provides email marketing solutions to those who need it, and is able to manage information sharing at a single point of entry rather than multiple ones. This helps all the relevant information to reach the database being maintained.

The addition of information can also be linked to an automated messaging system that creates and delivers messages. Thus emails can be created and delivered through an automated system once a power user status is acquired after email marketing efforts are integrated with the mainstream business. This proves to be a big time saver for clients since they no longer need to send reminders or think of ways of following up-all this is taken care of by automated mails.

Getting Started With Integration of Email Marketing

Once a decision has been taken to integrate the email marketing system with the mainstream business, the actual integration can be accomplished slowly to see the results of each step taken.

Integration cannot be standardized as it needs to be customized according to the nature of the business and the long term goals set for it. The business strategy and its implementation also play a role in the integration process.

Many businesses capture data about visitor details when they click on websites and assimilate them into mailing lists. The details included vary according to the needs of the business. The information is then used to send the first introductory emails and elicit a response, confirming the individual’s interest in the products being offered.


Internet marketing… move quickly.


More and more people are using the Internet to research and compare products and services across all industry segments… including yours.

As a result, more and more businesses are moving quickly to leverage the power of the Web to grow their enterprises.

ted360 helps professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners, artists, municipalities, politicians and organizations navigate the many options and challenges of Internet marketing. Strategic thinking and creative design enables us to produce effective Internet marketing solutions for our clients.

Benefits of Internet Marketing

In today’s competitive, 24/seven marketplace, the most successful businesses and organizations are using Internet channels:

• to reach a wider audience;
• to convey their unique message;
• to enhance their credibility;
• to strengthen limited marketing budgets;
• to achieve and exceed their objectives;
• to inspire positive action;
• to build strong relationships;
• to generate new opportunities;
• to improve their bottom line.

Elements of Internet Marketing

Each piece of the Internet marketing “mix” supports and enhances the effectiveness of the others: For the majority of our clients, this includes some combination of the following:

• Web site
• Facebook
• Twitter
• LinkedIn
• Blogs

If it is time you had a distinctive, social, informative and search-friendly Internet presence, contact me for a free quote:

Ted Dixon :: 845-853-8051 ::



People are looking for your restaurant.

local restaurant


You don’t have to be a big city, four star restaurant to establish and benefit from a distinctive, informative, social and search-friendly Web presence.

In today’s world, restaurants, local cafes and small eateries are using the Internet and social media as marketing tools. Consider these options:

• Post reviews of your restaurant on your site to attract new customers

• Post the menus so customers never have to scrounge around for take-out menus and your phone number

• Post Web only promotional deals such as “two for one meals” so customers will be tempted to check the site regularly

• Encourage email feedback: customers can contact the restaurant staff with suggestions or comments, and viewers can read the exchanges

A Competitive Advantage

As with all businesses, the food industry is highly competitive. So give yourself an extra edge and build an attractive, easily accessible Web site. Here are some things to should include on your site:

• Basic information (phone and fax numbers, hours of operation, the type of payment accepted) and easy to follow directions

• History of the restaurant and profiles of the main staff, including the owner, chef, pastry chef, host or hostess

• Convenient online ordering systems

• Exciting new menu designs
- Advertise weekly specials and promotions

The look of your restaurant, including the color scheme and logo, should be prominently displayed on your site. In this way, customers will feel an instant connection between the Internet and the establishment. Put your Web site address on all your merchandise to reinforce your business in your customers’ minds.

You will be amazed at the positive effects of having a distinctive and informative Web site. Your employees will spend less time fielding phone calls because customers can find just about everything they need to know by clicking a mouse.

As most restaurateurs know, there is nothing quite like the power of word of mouth. We bet some of your best customers hear about your food from a friend, who hears about it from a friend, and so on. A Web site is another sure fire way to start a buzz and garner new customers.

Having a Web site to promote, market and advertise your restaurant is simply smart business.

If it is time you had a distinctive, social, informative and search-friendly Internet presence, contact me for a free quote:

Ted Dixon :: 845-853-8051 ::