Taking Your Buns to the Next Level

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This episode of Creativity Killed the Cat has some fun with food and explains how local restaurants can out-duel their competition with creative marketing. Buns is a landmark in Delaware, OH (if you ever find yourself in my hometown, you NEED to stop for some ham loaf) so it was a blast developing a marketing strategy for such a prominent institution.

You can listen to the episode and read the transcription below. You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, YouTube, or anywhere else you get your podcasts by searching “Creativity Killed the Cat”.

— Intro —  

What’s crackalackin all you beautiful people! Welcome to the Creativity Killed the Cat podcast. (meow) My name’s Andrew Chwalik and I’m going to be helping you develop creative marketing that won’t break the bank.

Before jumping into our episode, I’m going to share a fun fact because my life get’s weird sometimes.

Fun Fact: I’m lactose intolerant, but once a year I binge on a dozen Krispie Cream glazed blueberry cake doughnuts. I just can’t help myself!

Alright, on with the show!

Remember, I take one small business or brand and develop some creative marketing concepts that could be implemented as soon as they finish listening to this podcast. Today, we’re talking about one of my true loves. Food. Oh yeah, I love food. I mean, who doesn’t. As long as it doesn’t have dairy, I’ll try anything once. And the company we’ll be looking at this episode, makes some pretty gosh darn good food.

— Marketing Chat —

Before we place our napkins on our laps and dig in, let’s talk about social media for a hot second. If you’re a small business, you need to have your social media game on point. Not only because it’s essentially free, but because your audience expects it. You have people out there that want to pay you money for your product or service, but they can’t do so if they don’t know you exist. Social media is a great way to start getting your brand out there.

If you haven’t been utilizing social media yet for your business, you’re a bit behind the curve but no need to worry. Social media is one aspect of digital marketing that is here to stay. Plus, a variety of methods have been tested over the years so we know what works best and what to avoid.

While you may be a bit behind, don’t rush into the space and create a new account on every platform available. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the care each profile needs to be effective. I’d recommend starting with just one platform first, test out the waters, nail down a strategy, implement your game plan, and then expand to other social media as you get more comfortable.

Facebook is most likely the best place to start for any small business, especially if you have a physical location. Hopefully, you know this already, but make sure to start a Facebook Page and not a personal account for your business. The account takes 2 minutes to set up and allows you to share all the information a customer might need, like location address, menu, products, videos, and your website. You can put all that on your profile. And the more complete you have your Page, the better.

Like I said, social media is here to stay. That means it’s time to get your show on the road and set up your digital presence across the world of social media. You’ll be happy you did.

I’m hungry so let’s start getting creative with the focus of today’s episode.

Buns Restaurant

Bun’s Restaurant is a restaurant where you can stop by for some delicious lunch or dinner. It’s located in the Historic District of Delaware, Ohio and has been serving its dishes since 1864! If a restaurant has been around for over 150 years, you know it has to be good!

I know I told you last episode, but I grew up in Delaware so Bun’s has been one of my favorite restaurants since childhood! I’ve celebrated graduations, held family meals, and even brought a few dates here. During my last visit, I mentioned that I do this podcast for small businesses and the owner immediately agreed to let me chat about some creative marketing aspects his restaurant could implement. If you can’t tell, I’m pretty excited. Now let’s get creative.

Okay, this may or may not be practical, but I’ve always loved the concept. The restaurant is called buns. I dig the name. Why not go full circle with that branding and produce your own buns? I’m talking about buns for hamburgers and hotdogs. You already make a variety of dishes, some including buns. You even have the Bun Burger. It would be legendary to have signature buns made by Buns. You could invent your own special recipe and spice up your current hamburger dishes with this new creation. I’m talking about a warm pretzel bun made with cinnamon or something to that effect. A delicious recipe that is uniquely your own. Then, you could even offer them to customers to buy in a pack to take home for barbecues.

If you don’t want to go that route, I have two other options for you to consider. The first might be a little more practical from a restaurant standpoint, develop a recipe for dinner rolls — which can also be called buns. You already bring bread to the table for dinner, why not use your own secret recipe and brand it as Bun’s buns? Eventually, customers will start talking about how great your buns are and generate even more business! We all know how great Red Lobster’s warm biscuits are, right? If you start typing “Red Lobster” into Google, “Red Lobster Biscuits” is one of the top results. The company even sells their biscuit mix so customers can enjoy them from the comfort of their own home. The same concept would work for Buns, especially because of the name.

The second option is creating a sticky bun dessert. This would be a pretty cool alternative if you wanted to get away from all the generic bread options. Plus, I know your dessert menu fluctuates, but what if you had one option that was always available? Make it your signature sticky bun! With a unique recipe, people will be coming in just to order that. If you need help taste testing during recipe development, I know a guy. (country song, I know a guy)

Sticking with the “bun” theme — ha, get it sticky bun — let’s talk about grilling for a moment. In downtown Delaware, there is something called First Fridays where all the local businesses offer special activities and the street is filled with community members. How about we start a tradition? Thankfully, Bun’s is located in the heart of Downtown Delaware and has a sweet retro sign that hangs over the road. You can’t miss it. During every First Friday, crank out the grill and cook up some hamburgers, brats, and hotdogs! Of course, you’ll be serving each of those in buns. Don’t be afraid to play on that concept a bit. People will love it. On top of all that, people can’t resist the smell of a fresh hamburger cooking on a grill during a late spring evening.

Now let’s look at your digital presence for a minute. Your website is simple and includes a menu, nice work. Plus, it’s even mobile friendly. You’d be surprised at the number of websites that are still not optimized for smartphone viewing. It’s an absolute must for every company. The one thing I would recommend is adding more pictures and videos! There’s no better way to entice customers to pay you a visit than by showing them how delicious your food looks. Snap some pictures of your signature dishes and put them on the front page of your website. If you want to get serious and create a few stunning product videos, I’ve got you covered. A quick note about your Facebook Page as well, add your menu as a tab on the left side so people can easily find it. You get a large amount of traffic on your Page so make sure you provide those visitors with all the information they might want to check out. A menu is probably a safe bet.

Let me toss out one final creative marketing idea. In the back of the main dining area, you have a wooden cutout of a cartoon boy. It’s been there for years and for some reason, it always sticks out in my mind. I’m not sure if there’s any significance, but I think he’s great. Let’s put him to work. Create a few graphics on your website, Facebook Page, and in-store publicizing your Bun Boy. Develop a story for him and share it with people. Then, start playing a game of where’s Waldo. Partner with other local businesses and place him around the Delaware community. You can share hint’s on your Facebook Page and for people that find him, maybe they get 5% off their bill. This could be a neat little activity that engages the local community in a fun way and also generates more business. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Buns Restaurant

Boom. Let’s get Buns making buns. So, there were way too many pun opportunities in this episode, you’re welcome for setting those up for you. But now, Buns has some creative marketing ideas that they could implement right now! Even if you don’t see the Bun Boy hanging out around Delaware, make sure to swing by Buns and check it out for yourself. If you need a recommendation, I go for the ham loaf every time I visit. It’s just too good to pass up.

— Closing —

Well, that’s all folks. Thanks for joining me on this episode of Creativity Killed the Cat! I hope you had as much fun as I did and were able to take away some creative marketing ideas that YOU can start using right now.

If you’re still stuck and need a little extra creative juice, head over to creativitykillscats.com to find some more content that will continue to get your creative gears turning. Plus, you can reach out and let me know if you want your business or brand as the theme for one of our future episodes.

Keep saving those cats. I’ll see you all on the next episode of Creativity Killed the Cat. In the meantime, search for Hey There Delilah on Spotify and relive the glory days with me.