Ep. 40 Octopus, Cheap Mexican and Lines out the Door – Marketing Strategies for Small Business
Octopus, Cheap Mexican and Lines out the Door – Marketing Strategies for Small Business
How can one business always be incredibly busy while similar businesses scrape by? Lines out the door at one restaurant while a similar one down the street shuts its doors…is it marketing? Customer Service? Business Voodoo?
Torie Mathis and he cohost Sean examine similar small businesses that are either rising way above the competition or struggling to stay open.
Listen or watch the full episode below:
EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION –
(transcription is auto-generated)
[00:00:00] Torie: I took a scoop of beans, put it in my mouth and there was a dam octopus in it.
[00:00:08] Sean: All the tentacles.
[00:00:14] Torie: You know what that restaurant is open anymore.
Hey, welcome to Smart AF I’m your host Torie Mathis. We have got a great show for you today. So let’s get started. Sean and I go to this Mexican restaurant for lunch. And it’s not really in an area that’s super heavily populated. It’s kind of off to the side of town. And what is super crazy is that this restaurant is busy every single day, every day at lunch, like packed like completely, like you’re waiting to get in there.
And then we go like have late lunches sometimes at like 3: 30 or something, still a shit ton of people in. We went one time and I thought it was just maybe it’s cause they have great lunch specials. And so I thought it was just a lunch thing. It’s a small little like in a strip mall. So it’s a strip mall, Mexican restaurant.
[00:01:16] Sean: Standalone, like fancy Mexican restaurant.
[00:01:19] Torie: I wouldn’t call it hole in the wall either. It’s not like, you know, there’s like these hole in the wall ones that have something like it is just a Mexican. So we went there for dinner. One time, there was a line out the door, like we didn’t even wait. We’re like, what the heck? How is this thing for dinner packed as well?
And it is not like it’s one of the only Mexican food restaurants. There are Mexican restaurants all over the place, authentic ones, Tex Mexi ones.
[00:01:51] Sean: Way closer to us.
[00:01:55] Torie: And we still, we drive to this one and it’s always busy. It is the craziest thing.
[00:02:02] Sean: And it’s good, but it’s not the best we’ve ever had.
[00:02:08] Torie: Nope. But there’s gotta be something, some reason that this restaurant. Is consistently super busy.
[00:02:21] Sean: I think they like their business model is volume. Like we can order our food and sometimes it feels like in two minutes we’ve got our food.
[00:02:34] Torie: But it doesn’t feel like thrown together. It doesn’t feel like it’s still, it’s always good. However, it is always like super concise. ’cause we’ve talked about that. Like that’s why people like going to fast food anywhere you are in the country, anywhere you are in the world. Sometimes you can go to fast food and it’s the same thing. So you’re not going to go in there and blow, you know, 20 bucks eating and it’s not going to taste good.
Like, you know what you’re getting. So I think that could be part of it. Like, you know what you’re getting when you go in there, it’s cheap Mexican.
[00:03:06] Sean: It is cheap.
[00:03:07] Torie: And it’s funny I was telling Riley like a couple of weeks ago, I was like, really, you want to go have cheap Mexican? He’s like, why would I want to eat cheap food? I’m like, oh no, no, this is different. It’s like, it doesn’t cost that much. And they have these fantastic lunch specials and they have them all day. Remember when I had you try to figure out I’m like, I don’t want to go. If it’s not a lunch special, I want the lunch special price. And as it turns out, this place all day lunch specials, no matter what time on the weekends, All the time you can get there lunch special.
[00:03:36] Sean: I mean their lunch specials. They’re not like lunch special and it’s still 8 99 there. I mean the two of us can eat beef completely full it’s really quick with a 20% 25% tip and it’s $12.
[00:03:55] Torie: It’s good food. Like it’s fresh. It’s so consistency, speed. Lunch specials. So something that is desirable for somebody.
[00:04:05] Sean: I think it is what it is too. I mean, it’s rice and beans and some tortilla and cheese and some cases where like.
[00:04:14] Torie: I’ve been to other ones and it’s just like
[00:04:18] Sean: I get the fancier dishes. But like when Riley orders a cheese case idea with some rice and beans. And there’s been places where like, that is a $9 meal for some beans, rice, and cheese and tortilla. Like it it’s ridiculous where I think this, this place, they it’s almost like they call it what it is. Like they have more expensive dishes because they’re more complex, you know, there there’s more to it, but I don’t know. It almost feels like they’re not nickel and diming for the stuff that really. I’m sure they’ve got these gigantic cans of beans and the rice has maintenance.
[00:05:00] Torie: Oh boy. That’s not a can’t. They are making those beans. I don’t think that’s can beans.
[00:05:06] Sean: Whatever, it’s it, they’re making a ton of it. Right. And then they’re not like this cup of beans of gold is okay.
[00:05:16] Torie: But we went to the one over bipolar. And that one got really great reviews. It was $12 at lunch, special price per person, right? Not that one. That was gross. Oh my gosh, you guys, you’re not. There was this woman that we’d never been to. It we’ve been to like the Chinese food restaurant right next to it. But there was this Mexican food restaurant and I love a good shredded chicken. And so I wanted chicken tacos after going to the gym.
And so there’s one time I went by myself and so I stopped by this place. I’m like, I’m going to try their chicken tacos, chicken after the gym. Right. That’s good. I went and I had. Just chilling by myself having my chicken tacos. I took a scoop of beans, put it in my mouth and there was a dam octopus in it. I took a picture. So Sean could see, you know, what that restaurant is an open anymore.
Been I complained though. And they were like, oh, they must’ve been making this seafood soup. You put octopus in my beans. And then they tried to make me pay for my food. I couldn’t eat it. I don’t get grossed out easily, but having a mouthful of octopus, when you think you’re eating refried beans is no. Why? No.
Yes. So their customer service on that was not great. No, that was, you know, I didn’t leave them a bad review after that too. I took some pictures of this app and I was pissed when I left because how they handled it and everything, I, it really was not professional.
[00:07:05] Sean: It can add up and somehow if they’ve got loose octopus in the.
[00:07:10] Torie: Make it better though.
[00:07:12] Sean: Exactly. Like how they handle it, like right out the gate. Like that’s a, that is for anybody that runs a restaurant is that should be an immediate, you’re obviously not paying for that.
[00:07:23] Torie: You’re not paying for anything. No, we’re so sorry.
[00:07:26] Sean: And what that’s doing is ensuring that they give you another opportunity to make things right.
And they’ll come back and try again and pay for that. We’re getting into that. You know, how they handled that, like he never go back, even if they were still.
[00:07:42] Torie: No, I’m driving across town to my cheap Mexican food restaurant that I know is going to treat me right every time. Right. No octopus in the beans. We went to another one that got really great reviews. It was a little bit further away. We took Riley. They had a really cute outdoor we’ve actually sat on the little couches and their little outdoor area. They got such good reviews and I’m like, I love a good Mexican restaurant. We drove all the way down there.
Like, everything’s good. Everything’s good. Then some of the stuff on the menu was like, Sean had a hard time. Seans not very adventurous, had a hard time finding stuff that was like, can I just get them enchiladas? Like it was all very. Putting some weird shit together. And then they bring it out. Like Riley’s was weird, had weird stuff.
And then they put like radishes and cucumbers and cabbage on everything. Like, I don’t know, they were trying to get too fancy, like it’s Mexican food. I don’t think so. Like it was trying to be something else. Like it portrayed as a Mexican restaurant. I don’t think there was a Mexican working in there. I don’t want your white people, Mexican food.
Like I want authentic Mexican food. I’m from California like everywhere we’ve gone. Like, where’s the real Mexican food. Like, I don’t want any of this fake Mexican, but let’s just like this.
[00:08:57] Sean: They want to have some fancy version of the restaurant fine, but don’t portray yourself as, you know, the authentic Mexican restaurant in his case. And then not be that is all you’re doing is setting yourself up for all kinds of issues and complaints. Mexican is Mexican. I get just good, simple food. And that’s, that’s what I want.
[00:09:25] Torie: It’s kind of like pizza too. Like you don’t really have to go really crazy, really. You know what, any business people try to make things overly complicated simplify, and we’ve been good at.
[00:09:36] Sean: We visited the pizza place and they’re like, Nope, not going, gonna let you change a damn thing on the topic.
[00:09:43] Torie: Oh, see, those are the egotistical chefs. They don’t want to change anything because they know what’s right. And what tastes great. I don’t want you to make those on my white pizza. They know the flavor, pallets, Sean, they know all I get it.
[00:09:58] Sean: Maybe I’m not a chef. So it doesn’t really relate to me.
[00:10:03] Torie: We talked about this though. Like I used to be that I would argue with. But that’s kind of probably a strong thing, but like if I felt something was right and they tried to change it and like, look, you hired me to do this. Like stop trying to ugly this up, stop trying to redesign. And you know what? I let them put white sauce on there you know, tomato pizza. I don’t care. If they want it like that, like if it’s gonna make a huge difference, I will definitely let them know, but I try not to be the egotistical designer anymore. That knows everything. You know what you want to ugly it all up. As long as it still has the same marketing message and like you’re not making it that it’s not going to be effective, however right.
[00:10:52] Sean: Bigger and bigger, bigger.
[00:10:55] Torie: I had somebody this week asked for a logo bigger. Can you make my logo like 20% bigger on there? You want me to highlight everything in yellow, too? I don’t know why they do that. Clients always do that. They always want their logo bigger. I’m going to tell you guys a secret about like getting people to buy your stuff. They don’t give a shit about your logo. They want to know what problem you are solving for them. That’s what they care about. Make that bigger and make your logos all or care about your logo. That’s right. That Mexican restaurant. I don’t even know what their logo is. All I know is fantastic food and good lunch specials.
You’re getting me in there. You’re totally consistent. I am full for less than 15 bucks.
[00:11:48] Sean: I got a menu that lets me know how they can make me no longer hungry.
[00:11:53] Torie: And it’s a pleasant, pleasant time. They’re very nice and refill my water. That makes me very happy. Then you don’t have to over-complicate stuff.
[00:12:03] Sean: Key waters. That I think that’s a big part of their consistency too, is they get, it’s always the same. We order the food and it comes out super quick.
[00:12:16] Torie: There’s no octopus in the beans.
[00:12:17] Sean: We get chips right away. And then they keep us hydrated like done, or we’re done relief and everything’s good. And we know we can go back and it’s going to be the exact same thing.
[00:12:27] Torie: Again, that consistency is so important for everything.
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