It's not McD0nald's. But, if you're under 50, you may never have heard of Howard Johnson's.
Not the hotels...the restaurants. While they often resided within the "HoJo" Motor Lodges, there were over 400 Howard Johnson restaurants before the first motel was ever launched in the mid '50s. Over a thousand thrived throughout this land at the height of the empire.
For the vast majority of those that remember the iconic brand, it was the fried clams. For others, it was the 3-D burger and fries.
As Nicholas Varchaver said, there is a "poignant, gorgeous melancholy" to the story of the last HoJo's. A lone restaurant with two stars on Yelp and a manger who is steadfastly resistant to technological change.
Terri and I were on a Destination Assessment assignment a couple years ago when we stumbled upon a Farmer's Market. I was instantly drawn to one vendor that was offering his best produce...along side his "worst" (click on image to enlarge).
I asked him which sold out first. He laughed and said, "the ugly ones."
Indeed, over a fourth of all produce in this country is thrown out because it's deemed not "pretty" enough for a grocery store or restaurant to purchase. That's billions of pounds of food waste and billions of dollars lost.
But a new initiative at Hy-Vee grocery stores is hoping to reverse that trend. Called "Misfits," Hy-Vee is taking a page from the playbook of our Farmer's Market friend and offering "ugly" fruit and veggies at 30% off.
Just finished a fascinating series of articles in Thrillist that warns that the bubble is about to burst for the American restaurant industry. And, what's scary for independent restaurants should send a chill down the spine of every Destination Marketer in the country.
Next to the day that the docks and piers start coming out of the lake for the winter, Labor Day is one of the saddest days of the year as the realization that another summer is coming to a close.
Not willing to go quietly, 67% of Americans plan to mark the holiday weekend with a cook-out. 44% say they’ll be drinking domestic beer while 22% will opt for an import. That from the recently released Budweiser Labor Day USA Survey.
Digging deeper, Budweiser also found that choice of drink silently signals cues regarding your personality to members of the opposite sex. 70% of men said they view a woman drinking a domestic beer as “friendly” and “low maintenance.” 59% of women view men drinking a domestic beer as "authentic" and "genuine."
Regardless of what you're drinking these days...raise your glass to the Summer of '16!
It's shaping up to be a video world. Some believe Facebook will be textless in the next few years. Nobody reads because we don't have to. Want to jump start your snowblower? Watch a video. Want to prepare a smashed peppercorn seared bacon wrapped scallop? There's a video for that. Want to learn how to sew a button? YouTube.
Thus, it should be no different for destinations attempting to get on that elusive list for consideration.
National college fraternities have always been faced with a conundrum: how to keep alumni engaged enough to keep paying dues to the mothership.
It's somewhat easier to extract dues from the Actives while they're on campus. But, with each successive year away from college life, the importance of the "the National" becomes less and less. And yet, alumni have the greatest ability to pay dues...and at a higher annual rate than Actives.
Despite being a Board member of my Chapter Alumni Association, I have to admit that my track record of paying dues to the National has been spotty, at best. Indeed, through my affiliation with the Chapter, you'd think I'd be more tuned into the activities of the National and, thus, more likely to pay dues. Imagine what my contemporaries that aren't involved with their Chapter do when it comes to National dues. Hell, most don't pay their Chapter Alumni dues.
Which is a dilemma for more than just fraternities. We are all joining fewer associations than the generations that came before us. So, how to keep the lights on when the dues slow to a trickle?
My National just hit me up with a genius idea. Subscribe to their exclusive wine club where a accomplished vintner (and fraternity Brother) selects three small batch wines from some of the best vineyards in America for $99 a quarter. And, half of all proceeds go to the Mothership. That means each year, subscribers get 12 rare bottles of wine for $200 and the National gets $200.
And, while that may seem like some pricey wine for some...the revenue to the National per Alumni is likely more than they could extract by simply appealing to their nostalgia and loyalty.
Diverted flights (where you don't end up at the airport you intended) are actually more prevalent than most of us think. But especially in the land of big weather (Texas), secondary airports get a lot of action.
It happens frequently enough that Nanci Liles and her CVB team have created "Survival Kits" for passengers packed with playing cards, water and snacks from an Abilene company to make the diversion less annoying.
According to Nanci, “when our short-term visitors reach their final destination, a part of the spirit of the community travels with them. As they return to normalcy, we hope they will recognize and appreciate that a mid-size city in Texas tried to make big difference in their travel experience because Travel Matters to Abilene, Texas.”
I can't think of a career more fun than the travel and hospitality sector. But, just because it's fun doesn't mean it isn't hard work...as members of the Greater Madison (WI) CVB staff found out last month.
As a way of saying "thank you" to their industry partners for National Travel & Tourism Week, CEO Deb Archer and her team performed "Tourism Takeovers" at destination businesses, stepping behind the scenes at area attractions and restaurants.