Saturday, June 14, 2014

Restaurant Reality TV Shows-the real reality?

The reality of  the restaurant business is that it is not an easy business to be in.  While food and restaurants have become more "sexy" in recent years with the celeberty factor adding to the interest, it still remains a high risk venture in business terms.

That risk, along with passionate chefs, owners and staff make for great TV.   Its no wonder that reality television has had an easy time creating show concepts over the past decade or so.

The newest crop of shows are a combination of the success of entrepreneurial shows such as Shark Tank, and Bar Rescue.

The two main competing shows are Hungry Investors and Restaurant Startup.  

Hungry Investors on SPIKE stars Bar Rescue's John Taffer, Tiffany Derry and our home grown favorite chef, John Besh.  Restaurant Startup stars people you have not heard of, but has the backing of the financial infotainment giant, CNBC.

So are these shows really showing the reality of the restaurant business?  Can TV really show the pain, work and stress it takes to run a successful restaurant?  Not to mention the money: the money it takes to survive and the loss of money when things don't go as planned.

All we see are the emotions of the people in the show. Which is compelling, but, the "real reality" is that when a restaurant does not make it, a lot of people suffer.   Staff, cooks, waiters, bus boys, suppliers, lenders, and landlords.  Sadly, lawyers may make some money, but a lot of people loose. 
Even the restaurants who do manage to make it can struggle causing strained relationships and stress, which IS the reality of the restaurant business.

And even the shows themselves don't always make it.  Remember NBC's Restaurant, featuring Rocco's restaurant and America's Next Great Restaurant. Both were canceled.

But shows like this are important and serve a purpose. Demonstrating the inner workings of a business is important and educational.  They are also inspiring and they contribute to the entrepreneurial spirit that our country was founded on.  I only wish they came with a warning lable.

***The author of this article should be given credit for staying away from using food, cooking and restaurant cliche's and puns. They were very difficult NOT to use.   I could have sprinkled every sentence to give it an extra kick, but in the end it would have been half-baked and lacking in flavor.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

California wants Hollywood South BACK, AND NOW!!!

California is on the war path to "Bring Blockbusters Back to California with Increased Film Incentives"  Bill AB 1839 passed its first legislative test as California's Assembly’s Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media committee voted unanimously in support of the measure. reports that "many Tinseltown-based professionals find themselves working out of California in richer tax incentive states".  And only 3 states were mentioned.  Georgia, New York and of course, Louisiana.  

If you don't think that our film tax incentive program is working, just look at the desperate measures California is taking to retain its film industry.  According to reports, various committee members want to see an increase from the current $100,000,000 incentive program to $430,000,000 to $500,000,000 in incentives.  This would surpass New York's $420,000,000+ program.  The fact that New York's governor has antagonized Hollywood by bragging about the amount of jobs they have taken from California has only added fuel to this fierce retaliation by state legislators.

“At the end of the day this is a jobs bill,” said Bocanegra before the committee. “We need to hold the line and keep these jobs, many of them union jobs in California,” reports.

“This is our industry to keep or lose,” said Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D – Santa Monica) “The Governor of New York brags about the jobs he is taking out of the state of California, he added. “And we have to say, it stops here. We’re taking a stand, we’re fighting for this industry and we’re going to do what it takes to keep the industry here. And I say that is in excess of $430 million dollars.”

That sounds like they are taking a stand to me.  And you can feel the anger. But is it too late?  Have the transplants taken root in Hollywood South?

This is the argument that all film incentive proponents have been making from day one.  This is the overwhelming proof that the incentives worked and need to keep working.  And what a bargain.  It’s estimated(by some) that our program costs $176m, which is even arguable since it’s a credit and not a cost. By comparison to $430,000,000, I would say that's a deal.

If the Louisiana film tax credit program was a short-term, quick fix, we would not have a real benefit.  But it’s not, its real jobs, real people, real moving vans and yes, REAL JOBS.  Please forward this to everyone you know that cares about this industry.  Make it known that the film industry matters to Louisiana.  More than ever we need the spot light to remain on us.  If it doesn't, all of the progress made will recede, and unfortunately......fade to black.

New Film & TV Tax Credit Bill Unanimously Passes First Hurdle In Sacramento

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Thursday, March 13, 2014



The ultimate corporate sponsorship was nearly 120 years ago in 1894 when the McIlhenny Company sponsored the TABASCO© Opera as a fundraiser for a volunteer militia in Boston. This year, in 2014, a local conductor will revive the historic TABASCO© Opera.

But let’s examine the details of this marketing decision made well over a century ago and compare it to sponsorship opportunities today.

Sponsorships are expected to perform a certain role in marketing, branding and advertising. This is the expectation and design of a sponsorship, however, many fail to deliver. Why?

Obviously, if you have your product name not only integrated into the opportunity, content or event, but your product is in the name of and the subject of the content, in this case an opera, your probability of brand retention increases exponentially. Does “brought to you by” have the same value as your logo or brand integrated into the show itself?

With an opera, you also have a strong focus by the audience on the content itself. There are no distractions, no DVR. Compared to sporting events where the focus is on the game and making a beer run, the opera audience is involved in the storyline which happens to center around your product. With sports there is little room to saturate your brand into the content.

As with most large events, there is continuing dialogue after the event. Sports talk dominates the airwaves following a weekend of football, unless your team lost, then not so much. Same applies to this opera which led to the retelling of the storyline and the continuation of the TABASCO© brand.

This opera was so well received and “buzz-worthy” that it was actually purchased from McIlhenny and taken on tour across the country.

Now, fast forward 120 years, for one of the ultimate, longest running sponsorship opportunities in marketing history, the opera is rediscovered and brought back to the stage to repeat its success and continue the extension of the original sponsorship.

So was that original sponsorship a good idea? Did it provide branding or increase sales? Did it deliver what a sponsorship should? Should you expect longevity from the sponsorship partnership?
It may be hard to quantify, however, one thing is for sure, it provided a value that could not be easily duplicated with the average corporate sponsorships out there today. The back story alone is one that took 120 years to create.

Where are these opportunities today? Well, I believe they need to be created. They are not visible, not readily available. Coincidentally, we are producing a few similar type of opportunities, maybe we have one that fits you. Its worth talking about. Maybe it takes a little bit of luck, but most likely it takes creativity and brain power, because this “opera” thing was genius.

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