Strategic Freebies

Yes, we are still in a deal-driven environment, but more and more, the deals I see are increasingly strategic. Think about Denny’s free Grand Slam or Chick-fil-A’s March Mania Friday where customers save their receipts and get their exact order for free before the end of March. These are what I call “strategic freebies”…very different offers with very different underlying strategies. Read More »

Are You Ready?

Since it’s Lent, the Catholic schoolgirl in me couldn’t resist a trip to McDonald’s today for a fish sandwich. (It brought back a flood of school cafeteria memories for me.)

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What Can We Learn from Chick-fil-A?

The list is long.

From product quality to adherence to core values, Chick-fil-A is replete with best practices. But the thing that most recently impressed me is this: When the going gets tough, the smart get strategic.

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Useful Immediacy

I just read an article about Twitter that used the phrase “useful immediacy.” (Ironically, a new microwave–the granddaddy of useful immediacy–is being installed in my kitchen as I type.)

Cabin Fever

Am I the only one who’s getting sick of winter? Every time I see the TV commercial featuring Travelocity’s “Roaming Gnome” sitting in front of a television screen filled with palm trees and sandy beaches while a storm fills the window behind him, I almost chant along with him…

Peak Performance

I just saw an interview with Olympic gold medal snowboarder Shaun White, whose snowboarding stunts are almost mind-boggling. When interviewed, he explained, “I can see what I want to do before I do it.”

What Is it About Burger Love?

OK, I admit, burgers have been on my mind lately. But the other night, Bob Costas even broached the topic while he was doing Jay Leno’s final “10 at 10 List.” He admitted, “If I have $10 in my pocket, no offense to In-N-Out, I’m going for a Carl’s Super Star with Cheese.”Clearly, people love their burgers. Read More »

What Is it About Burgers? (Part II)

In a presentation at a culinary conference years ago, my menu maven friend announced that we are all motivated by “our culinary heritage.”

What Is it About Burgers? (Part I)

The buzz on burgers seems to be at a fever pitch these days. After splitting a perfect burger with a friend at Bandera a couple of weeks ago, followed by a Happy Hour visit for Fleming’s cheeseburger, I was talking with an industry menu maven who noted that, right now, the “downscaling of fine dining” is a perfect opportunity for struggling upscale players to provide value by offering great burgers, and that even fast-food players are doing a “superb job.” Read More »

What’s the Deal?

On a recent business trip to Newport Beach, I made time to see my old hairdresser Eddie. I hadn’t seen him since I moved away four years ago, but it was as though it had been four weeks, not four years. That day, all he could talk about was restaurants and the economy: Read More »