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October 4, 2023

5 must-do local marketing tips to drive growth

with Rev Ciancio
Co-founder of Handcraft Burgers and Brews, Head of Revenue Marketing at Branded Hospitality Ventures, and founder of Yeah! Management

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Summary

Joining us on the Local Marketing Lab is the “godfather of restaurant marketing” and expert, Rev Ciancio — founder of Handcraft Burgers and Brews, Head of Revenue Marketing at Branded Hospitality Ventures, and founder of Yeah! Management. In this episode, Rev shares his innovative local marketing strategies to help drive ROI by focusing on the customer experience.

Optimize your online presence and respond to reviews
One of the most essential local marketing tips to drive growth is to ensure your business information is consistent across all major platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Rev discusses how this makes it easy for nearby customers to find and learn about your brand. As you respond thoughtfully to reviews, this not only showcases your commitment to each customer but also allows you to glean information to improve your operations.

Capture customer contact information (email, email, email!)
Rev urges brands to prioritize capturing customer contact information like emails. By collecting emails through free Wi-Fi sign-ups, competitions, kiosks, and other creative methods, you can consistently nurture these relationships with promotions and helpful content. Email marketing fuels repeat visits and referrals.

Consistent marketing content to your ideal customer persona
Rev encourages consistency when producing marketing content. Whether it’s social media, blogs, or newsletters, frequently sharing stories and expertise related to your niche builds trust and connection with your ideal customers. Valuable content earns attention and amplifies your messaging.

Key Takeaways

Rev shares examples around 5 local marketing tips to drive growth for your business to thrive, including:

  • Optimizing your online presence
  • Capturing customer emails
  • Crafting targeted promotions
  • Building customer personas
  • Creating consistent valuable content

Good marketing for a restaurant is about consistency, right? It’s about doing it all of the time. And it’s about incremental improvements over time that lead to a better scenario over time.

REV CIANCIO
Local marketing tips to drive growth

Resources

Other shout-outs

Transcript

Rev Ciancio
I’ve been on this bandwagon for like ten years, so I’m not going to get off it till every restaurant does it. But the number one, most important, most valuable, easiest thing to do with biggest return and the terms of marketing for a restaurant is… 


Justin Ulrich
What’s up everyone, and welcome to the Local Marketing Lab, where you get real-world insights from industry pros to help you drive local revenue and local for growth. This podcast is brought to you by Evocalize – digital marketing tools powered by local data that automatically work where and when your locations need it most. Learn more at evocalize.com.

What’s up, everyone, and welcome to the Local Marketing Lab. Joining us today is a guest that literally needs no introduction, but I’m going to do it anyways with over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, he’s the founder of Yeah! Management, head of revenue marketing at Branded Strategic Hospitality, and co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Handcraft Burgers and Brews

He believes that pizza is a religion. He has hundreds of thousands of followers across Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok. They all know him as Rev Ciancio, Fun with Fries, and the Munch Mafia. But I know him personally as the godfather of restaurant marketing.

Rev Ciancio
Oh, man.

Justin Ulrich
Haven’t really used that externally, but that’s what I think of you as. David Rev Ciancio, thanks for joining us in the lab. 

Rev Ciancio
Thank you, Justin. I mean, wow. For somebody that was not going to get an intro, wow, you’re hired.

For somebody that needs no introduction, I’m expecting, like, Jerry Seinfeld, and I certainly don’t put myself in the list.

Justin Ulrich
You probably have more followers than Jerry Seinfeld.

Rev Ciancio
At least now if I get recognized with my Amex at a gas station. 

Justin Ulrich
That’s right. Awesome. Well, hey, genuinely, I got to just start by saying, as a marketer, I’ve got huge respect for what you do. You’re everywhere. The volume of content that you crank out is incredible. The engagement rates that you get – like you have a highly engaged audience. Your content is incredible. And I see you everywhere. You travel. Like you’re at all the events, you’re on, all the podcasts, and it is just a constant stream of content. And I don’t know how you do it.

Rev Ciancio
I’m not sure either. So thank you.

Justin Ulrich
It’s official. Rev uses technology and he is AI.

Rev Ciancio
There you go. I’m actually a robot. Well, my son believes he’s a robot, so maybe I am too, and I just wasn’t aware. But I don’t want to make it sound like I have some magic button, but it does require content, requires discipline, for sure. Creativity is something you can build if you have the discipline. And for sure, there are many nights a week where I fall asleep, like, still editing a TikTok and fall asleep. Dedicated to the craft.

Justin Ulrich
That’s right. Yeah. You got to be all in. And you’ve been all in for a long time.

Rev Ciancio
My first blog was in 2000. When I wrote a blog called Cheesesteaks.com, and in 2000 writing cheestakes.com, I learned two very important lessons very quickly. Number one, at the time, once you get outside of Philadelphia, the quality in cheesesteaks takes a significant drop. And also people’s interest in cheesesteaks does too. That blog did not last very long.

Justin Ulrich
That’s hilarious. Yeah. On the consulting side of things, though, you’ve got years of experience on that side. And then what I really love about what you do is just and this is just candidly for me, everything that you recommend, at least from what I understand, everything you recommend, they’re all solutions that you’ve tried. And it’s like within your own restaurant, you prove out the success and then say, hey, this thing really works. This is what I’ve experienced and what I’ve seen from success standpoint, go and try it.

Rev Ciancio
Well, look, I think that restaurant marketing is confusing. I think that restaurant marketing is hard to measure. I think the restaurant marketing is hard to “feel” the impact of. And so there were years where nobody taught me anything. I had to learn everything my own. And I feel like there really isn’t a great resource for learning. So I’m like, okay, well, I want to help the future me. 

Somebody else comes along trying to figure out something. If I figured out, I want to share it so that everybody can be better. I mean, look, at the end of the day, what I really care about is an awesome dining experience. So if I can help a restaurant to have an awesome dining experience through awesome marketing, then everybody wins.

Justin Ulrich
Exactly. It’s one of those industries that what I love about it, is there’s so much room for success for everyone. It doesn’t have to be like, highly competitive. Everyone can do well. And there are communities that I’ve become part of, like, even within LinkedIn or whatever, where it’s just rising tide raises all ships. Everyone shares all their experiences, their knowledge, in an effort to, like you said, just overall provide a solid dining experience for everyone.

Rev Ciancio
Yeah, the stuff that I share are frameworks. Here’s how to achieve success metric A by doing steps one, two, three. Right? 

But here’s the thing. If you take that to another restaurant and you follow it exactly, it’s not going to work. You have to understand your brand. You have to understand your audience. You have to understand their journey. You have to understand what they care, and you have to apply creativity. 

So the framework is just there to set you up. You know what I mean? And that’s like it’s like, look, I’ve tried this with my restaurant. Here’s the framework. Here’s the creativity. We dropped in the top. Like, try this for yourself.

Justin Ulrich
We had an episode a few ago with Jeremy Julian. He was on talking about just knowing your audience. And we talk a lot about if you don’t know your audience and know what connects with them, it’s going to be really hard. You’re going to be creating tons of content. It’s going to resonate with a whole swath of people, but you’re going to be a mile wide in an inch deep. You’re not going to fully resonate with anyone because you’re trying to get to.

Rev Ciancio
Had, I don’t know if you know Condado Tacos, they’re taco chain based in Ohio. I had their CMO, Sara Kear on my show, and she shared something amazing with me, which I still haven’t shared other than that show because I haven’t figured out the framework, but essentially went in and they paid an agency a lot of money. I don’t have a lot of money, but basically they paid an agency to determine who were their actual top avatars, like who are the ICPS of the restaurant brand. And I think they had seven. 

And when they really broke it down, it wasn’t like by demographics or psychographics. It was by how they was by lifestyle, which I’d never seen that everybody was like, oh, it’s a soccer mom who’s driving the kids and blah, blah, and these family meals, like you see that everywhere. But this was more like, this is the person in the group who decides where people eat on Friday nights. 

Anyway, so they broke it down to like six or seven avatars. And what they learned, and this is the important part, is that 80% of their revenue was driven by two avatars. So they then took 80% of their marketing and aligned it those two people. The rest of the marketing kind of fell in line, and I was like, oh, that’s interesting. 

The framework I take from that is if you understand what your customer base looks like in terms of ICPS, I throw ICP and avatar around, it’s the same to me. And you figure out who are the top two needle drivers, align your marketing to the two ICPS that really drive revenue, and the rest of the ICP should fall in line. That’s a simplification of it, you know what mean?

Justin Ulrich
Yeah, yeah. It takes some work to get to the point where you’re fully understanding those ICPS, or just for those who don’t understand what that is or haven’t heard that term, like ideal customer profile, it takes some work to try to nail that down, but if you get it, it pays itself back in spades. 

Like you said, think of how much time you spend and money I’m sorry, how much time you save and how much money you save on only developing marketing for the folks who it matters with, as opposed to trying to create marketing for everybody.

Rev Ciancio
At the burger shop, we’re across the street from Bryant park, we’re a block and a half from times square. It would be easy for me to say my ICPS are commuters, tourists, and foodies. That would be easy, and they kind of do break down that way. 

But what it really is all of them are foodies. And it’s either, I want an awesome burger on my vacation, I want an awesome burger at lunch, or I’m traveling from somewhere else to get an awesome burger. And so we think about it that way. It’s like, how do I talk to those three decision makers? You know what I mean?

Justin Ulrich
Yeah. Very good. It’s an awesome example. So you’ve applied this to your location. What are some other things that you’ve applied recently that you’ve seen really good success, just focused on local marketing?

Rev Ciancio
Oh, man. There’s two things that every restaurant, regardless of size, should do, and I don’t know why they don’t. Okay, number one, I’ve been on this bandwagon for like, ten years, so I’m not going to get off it till every restaurant does it. But the number one most important, most valuable, easiest thing to do with biggest return in the terms of marketing for a restaurant is listings management. Okay? 

And that’s managing all the information about your brand on Google, yelping, yahoo, Forscore, siri, TripAdvisor, Alexa, all of the places where your information lives. You get a simple tool like Marqii. That’s what I use. You put in your information one time and boom, it updates everywhere. That is how you optimize for “near me” searches. 

By the way, I do this a lot. Like, I’m pretending to type when I talk

Justin Ulrich
You were sprinkling, I thought you’re like Salt Bae.

Rev Ciancio
No, that’s helping the marketing earth there. No, that’s me to type. 

No, but the idea of managing your information is (a) first of all, customers are on they’re on Google, they’re on Yelp. They want to know where to eat. If you have the wrong information, you’ve broken the customer journey. Right? 

Number two, when all of that information is the same on all of those websites, when your address is the same, your menu is the same, your hours are the same, you get like, perfect search optimization, and that builds so that’s number one. 

Number two, and again, this is one of those moves simple, easy, cheap, effective, and works ridiculous. Is free WiFi in-store. I don’t care what your service model is. Like, people that go to Starbucks for five minutes, connect to the WiFi. People that go to the steakhouse and have an hour long dinner, and then check your menu and Instagram, check into WiFi.

At the burger shop, I would say 60 some percent of the people that are on our email list came from free WiFi. And average time seated there is 17 minutes. 17 minutes. People are happy to sign on a secure WiFi. So if you’re not putting WiFi in your restaurant, you’re making a mistake. And we use a provider called Vivaspot. It’s $19 a month. Are you freaking kidding me? I captured two email addresses, and it’s worth it. We do ten to twelve a day.

Justin Ulrich
Yes. Real quick, Rev. I understand the importance of having WiFi in the unit, but can you explain to those who are listening why it’s important, what it helps you do?

Rev Ciancio
Okay, so if you don’t have your customers’ contact info, meaning their name and at least their email address, you can’t drive retention. You can hope for retention, but if you have their email address, it allows you to at least put a newsletter in their email box every Thursday morning that says, try our new special. It’s the easiest, fastest, cheapest way to drive retention is get somebody’s email address. 

And WiFi is one of the cheapest, easiest, fastest ways to get it. Because here’s the thing. Like, let’s say you’re a fine dining restaurant, you’re full service, I make reservation, but I take you, Justin, and two of our friends. The three of you are unknowns because I made the reservation. So how do I get unknowns? Free WiFi, you know what I mean? 

Where you come into the burger shop and we have kiosks, and our kiosk – don’t get me started on why this makes me frustrated, but our kiosk does not accept email addresses, so I have WiFi. We are not a burger shop. We are an email capture machine that also makes hamburgers. I got seven ways that I can capture email address.

Justin Ulrich
That’s incredible. I think the other piece from what we do from a marketing standpoint, when you’re pushing out any type of marketing, whether it happened to be a direct mailer or like you’re pushing out digital ads, whatever it might be, you now have the ability, when people can come into your unit and sign in, to at least do some sort of attribution on. Hey, I put out this marketing and we brought them in. So it helps to at least help connect the dots from an ROI perspective on your other marketing efforts as well.

Rev Ciancio
Yeah, and the key, and I don’t think a lot of brands realize this, you can capture somebody’s email before they’ve dined with you. You can incept the purchase. And one of the ways and you guys probably do this, but you put ads on meta geotargeted, interest level marketing, likes hamburgers and Bryant Park, whatever, and give them an acquisition offer, like buy one, get one free, 50% off your first meal, free cup of coffee, whatever. 

It sends them to a landing page, they put in their name, they put in their email address, it automatically pings them the code, and boom, you have their email address before they’ve ever transacted. It’s a ridiculously easy funnel to set up.

Justin Ulrich
Super easy. And it doesn’t take a lot to set up. The technology makes it so easy nowadays, you don’t have to be tech savvy to set this stuff up. Most of the tools have really good onboarding processes that help someone even if they haven’t used technology. If they’re afraid to get started or don’t know where to start, just click try me or try free trial, or whatever it might be. And usually it’s pretty easy to get started with something.

Rev Ciancio
Agreed.

Justin Ulrich
We’ve already gone through some solid nuggets. But if you had a piece of advice for someone who’s struggling from a local marketing standpoint, they can’t drive revenue. They can’t drive traffic. They can’t drive growth, whatever it may be. What would a piece of advice be that you give to them that they could start doing today to start changing the trajectory of where they’re going?

Rev Ciancio
And that is a hard question. If your brand is really doing that poorly, you should question whether you should still be operating. I hate to say it, but I’ve seen restaurants go six months past the point at which they should have shut off. You got to start from a different standpoint. If there’s no hope in the numbers, don’t burn money. Figure your way out. And I say this as somebody who lost. I used to own a bar in the East Village. We sold it in 2016. Justin, I’m still paying off the debt, okay? I have failed.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah.

Rev Ciancio
have failed. And so I know the pain of that. I’ll remind everybody listening, 2016 was eight years ago. I know the pain of that. So if it’s really failing, cut it off. Okay? If you’re just like, hey, we used to do really well, or we’re getting close, but I know something’s missing that’s different. 

And the first thing you got to start with is making sure that the experience is optimal. Marketing means nothing if the experience sucks, if your food is mediocre, if your servers suck, if the bathroom is dirty, if it’s difficult to order from you, if there’s a ton of friction in the experience, no level of marketing is going to help. 

We worked with a restaurant in Hudson County that was part of a multi unit brand. They have 44 stores, okay? The food was phenomenal. Like, phenomenal, phenomenal, right? The branding was world class. Like, they just nail it. And we got in there and we did WiFi and we did email, we did SMS, and we did Google Search, and we checked all the boxes, and it did not move the needle. 

And we went there and we dined again without them knowing we were coming in. We’re like, oh, bathroom’s unclean, your stuff’s really rude. It’s hard to use this other thing to work. And I was like, oh, it’s not marketing. It’s operations. So start with the operation. Diagnose what is or isn’t working. 

And if you don’t know, go read your Google reviews. Your guests are probably telling, you know, start with the negative ones and look at it with, like, a concerned eye. Not like, you jerk, how dare you say this about my business? You’ll learn where the friction is, okay? So if the food is good, the experience is good. And it’s literally just like, my marketing is bad. Amen. Okay, great. 

The most important thing you can do is optimize for local search. 60% to 70% of your guests should be coming from, like, Google, Yelp, Yahoo, TripAdvisor, and it’s easy. And the second thing is, I think it’s going to sound like a broken record here, but capture people’s email addresses, right? I think I saw a stat at FS Tech. Something like 85% of guests are one timers. That doesn’t help drive a business. You got to get people to at least come in twice.

Justin Ulrich
You can’t think of the money, the money you spend to bring them in that first time. Like you said, if you’re providing a terrible experience and you’ve spent all those marketing dollars to bring them in, you’re just throwing good money after bad and it’s just a leaky leaky bucket.

Rev Ciancio
And, you know, I feel like I’m going to preach this till the end of time, but there is no magic button for restaurant. There’s zero. Even if Kim Kardashian walks into your restaurant and takes a picture of a burrito and goes, this is amazing, it’s going to last for a small amount of time. You know what I mean? 

Like, good marketing for a restaurant is about consistency, right? It’s about doing it all of the time. And it’s about incremental improvements over time that lead to a better scenario over time. If you want to get there, make sure you’re managing your listings and you’re capturing your guest emails.

Justin Ulrich
That’s right, yeah. And you hit on Google Search a bit, but also your reviews. Not only you have to stay on top of those, even to the negative ones, make sure you’re responding and doing so in a way that’s not combative. It’s a humble approach to say, hey, we’re trying to make this better, and other folks who see that are going to appreciate it. It’s authentic.

Rev Ciancio
Do you have an hour? If you want to talk about reputation management, I need at least an hour.

Justin Ulrich
We’ll do it on the next episode.

Rev Ciancio
On the next four episodes.

Justin Ulrich
I worked at Signpost for a couple of years, and they just got purchased by Haibu, actually, their assets acquired on the review management side. But yeah, it’s interesting in that the impact it has to your business, just that one component, like you’re saying earlier, like, start there. That’s a key component to focus on.

Rev Ciancio
I believe that local marketing is a local brand’s game to win. I was explaining this to one of my clients yesterday. I was like, look, here’s the thing. You have two stores, right? This is a client. I was like, you have the ability to build in best practices right now to market every store at the local level. So as you grow to 5, 10, 15, 20 units, it’s part of the brand nature to market at the local level. 

McDonald’s, Taco Bell, KFC, Ruth’s Chris – at this point, getting them to market at a local level, that’s like learning a trick that they never learned. You have so many units, like, how do you do that? That’s why they buy ads on Fox News. That’s why they put billboards on the side of the road, because it’s just easier for them at scale. 

You build it as part of your culture, as a restaurant to do local store marketing. When you get to that size, or somewhat of that size, it will be inherent. Replying to reviews, managing listings, running local ads on Facebook, making sure your Google Search ads turns on, having community development, you got to either empower somebody internally or somebody at the store to do it.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah, for sure. And empower your team to create content. Like, don’t wait to start. Just start recording processes. Start pushing stuff out there. Just show your brand off. It’s something that anyone could do. It’s relatively cheap, if not free. 

There may be some level of monitoring and approval and stuff like that, but people are interested in seeing the process. We had a conversation with Shawn about this, Shawn Walchef, and it’s just like he’s just got so many good nuggets. But yeah, the one that he talked about was just recording the process and just tell your story that way and people love it. 

So Rev, before we move on, we like to ask our guests what is a brand that could be multi-location, single location, who is doing something really well, really interesting, cool from a local marketing perspective?

Rev Ciancio
Amen. Well, I’m not going to answer Handcraft Burgers and Brew because that would be my default, but I’m going to actually going to give you two brands because they’re both doing the same thing right now. These are clients of mine. Now, I saw this go around YouTube, like back in May or whatever. There was like a video of this thing you could do. I was like, oh, that’s interesting. And I sent it out to a bunch of people. Hey, anybody want to try this? 

And two of the brands I work with came back and was like, yes. And one is Kyle’s Kitchen on the West Coast and the other is Chef-Driven Concepts here in New York City. They own 5 Napkin, Marseille, Nice Martin, a bunch of brands, but they did this thing called a summer scratcher. So you walk in, you have a meal. At the end of the meal, your server comes over and hands you a scratch off card. 

Not from Black Angus Steakhouse, that just happens to be the and it has, like, scratches on it. Says, like, scratch to win. Now, here’s the thing. Every single card is a winner. There’s no you didn’t get anything. Every single one. And there’s a mix of prizes available from, like, free appetizers to free desserts to $50 gift card to $200 gift card. Like, there’s different levels.

Justin Ulrich
Wow.

Rev Ciancio
Right? And of course, the bigger the level, the less of those are available. So they get the cards in, they shuffle them up, and they give one to every single guest. Okay. And the idea is the guest puts it in their wallet, and they can’t scratch it up until they come back in, and when they come back in, they could have a free drink or free or fried pickles or whatever it is. 

And there’s a much deeper I’m giving you the really the high level of it, but in the first two weeks alone, one of those brands had a ten times ROI. Ten times. So, like, somebody came in with the card and got free French fries, and we did the cost of what so we know per card what the cost is. 

And we looked at that versus the money spent, and they spent ten times the cost of the promotion in the first week alone sorry. First two weeks alone, and they’re available to use through the end of this month. So, like, the ROI at the end of this is going to be ridiculous. 

But here’s the thing. It was a manual process. It took a lot of creativity. We had to hire designers. We had to find somebody to print it. These are usually not the things marketers like to do. They want to just put an ad on Google because it’s easy near me. But we really know this is an interesting idea. 

And both brands went in there and got it. And look, we stumbled through it, and servers didn’t quite get it. It had to be explained. But the thing is, it created a really fun, unique promotion, and it literally brought people back in.

Justin Ulrich
Yes, because if you scratch when you’re gone and you see it’s a free fry, you may not want to come back for the free fry, but if you have to be back to scratch it, that is genius.

Rev Ciancio
Amen. And look, listen, between you and me, if somebody walked in with a scratch, the restaurants honor it. We’re in the hospitality business, but idea’s to hold on to it.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah, very cool. Very cool. No, that’s a really good example. All right, so we’ve reached the point where we review some of the facts you sent over, and you had some of the most interesting facts. I couldn’t even believe it. I’m like, These are not true. This guy’s lying to me. But I know that you’re authentic, and that’s not the case, but I heard it down here.

Rev Ciancio
For the audience sake, you said that to me via email, and I said, okay, here’s three.

Justin Ulrich
They were…I don’t even know if they were more outlandish. I think that the true ones were more unbelievable. But anyways, you sang on five commercial albums. You played Ted Nugent pinball with Ted Nugent. That was an amazing you’ve been featured on Cake Boss, which is awesome. Were you a competitor?

Rev Ciancio
So quick budy story. I used to write one of the world’s top three hamburger blogs, and for National Hamburger Month in May, and I think it was 2008, I put out a public calendar that was like, I’m doing one event every single day for the month if you want to join me, these are the 31 burger events I’m doing. 

And the producers of the Cake boss called me, and they were like, this is hilarious. And I said, okay, great. Do you want to come to me with an event? And they were like, no, buddy. Velastro saw it, and he said, if you get all the way through, like, if you complete it, he wants to make you a congratulatory burger cake. 

And I was like, okay, I’m going to do it. Just schedule it. Sure enough, I went down to the shop and we sat down in the back and he filmed it. And he was like, so what is this thing you’re doing? And I was like, 31 burger events in 30 days for National Burger Month. He’s like, that’s amazing. 

Anyway, long story short, I owned a bar. East Village. And he’s like, I want to make you a celebration burger cake. And I said, okay, here’s the deal. You make cakes, you bring it to my bar, serve it to my guests. I’ll make the equivalent burgers for your team. He’s like, okay, done.

Justin Ulrich
That’s cool.

Rev Ciancio
So they came bar and they brought three 50 pound hamburger cakes, and we made them all burgers. It was really fun.

Justin Ulrich
That is cool. Very fun. A couple of other things. You’re in the witness protection program since you were 16.

Rev Ciancio
Also true. Probably should admit that publicly, but it is true.

Justin Ulrich
Wow, we’ll get through these. It’s crazy. So Mario Andretti is your uncle, and then Katy Perry once saying happy birthday to you.

Rev Ciancio
I didn’t say Mario Andretti is my uncle. I said, you call him Mario, I call him uncle. Okay, he’s not technically my uncle, but I grew up in a racing family, and we were very close with the Andrettis. And he still sends us a Christmas card every year. And when I first opened my bar in 2010 in New York City, so we only had rock and roll posters in the bar. And then one side ten from Uncle Mario and said, “Dear David, good luck with the bar. Love, Uncle Mario.” And people come Mario and dread. He’s like, yeah, he’s my uncle.

Justin Ulrich
It’s so crazy. And then the last one was Katy Perry saying happy birthday to you in front of a sold out arena.

Rev Ciancio
Barclay Center, man, it was awesome.

Justin Ulrich
How does this stuff mean? What life are you living?

Rev Ciancio
I like to just tell people when they ask that. I go, well, I’m the Rev man. That’s what happens.

Justin Ulrich
The Rev. Well, that’s part of that. It got me thinking, what could I plug into AI to generate an image? That’s what we like to do. I was thinking the world’s most interesting man. I was laughing so hard. I did this late at night, so it was like a 15 hours day for me. Yesterday. 

I was up at like eleven, and I’m like, why is he. Holding this hamburger like he’s going to go bowling. It was just in the meat. It just looks so ridiculous. And then I tried getting the hat on there, and it didn’t quite work out because the hat was tiny. But at the end of it all, I was like, really? What’s? The thing that I want to show Rev is the godfather of restaurant marketing.

Rev Ciancio
Thank you. I appreciate that.

Justin Ulrich
So this is you a little bit older as a godfather.

Rev Ciancio
Okay, here’s why this is funny. Here’s why both of these are funny. Number one, go back to the other. So here’s what AI does not know.

Justin Ulrich
You have an extra finger.

Rev Ciancio
This is a fun no, I got ten. This is a fun fact. I hate it when things touch my wrists. I wear short sleeves all year long, so I don’t have anything on my wrist. This would have to be a special occasion for me to wear that suit. And the next one, the Godfather.

Justin Ulrich
Yeah. Let me skip back over to it.

Rev Ciancio
‘ve never seen it.

Justin Ulrich
Really?

Rev Ciancio
Not one, not two, not three, never.

Justin Ulrich
Oh, my goodness.

Rev Ciancio
I love gangster movies. I’m Italian. I’ll eat pasta for days.

Justin Ulrich
You’re in the witness protection program.

Rev Ciancio
Goodfellas is one of my favorite movies, but I’ve never seen any of The Godfathers.

Justin Ulrich
That’s so crazy. Well, hey, now we know. That’s another fact. That amazing.

Rev Ciancio
Have to send those.

Justin Ulrich
Oh, 100%. 100%. I actually want to turn The Godfather One into a poster that had The Godfather logo with all these balls. That’s right. Awesome. Well, that does it for today. I want to give you a chance, Rev, to you’ve been an awesome guest. I really appreciate having on. If you want, let us know how we could follow you.

Rev Ciancio
There’s lots of ways. I’m @revc on every platform. So if you want content, go to the platform. But this is honestly the best one. Go to restaurantsgrow.TV. Okay. restaurantsgrow.TV that will forward you to my LinkedIn newsletter, where once or twice a week, I literally put out a semi-long form, literally a framework of how to accomplish something with your marketing. 

It’s a free newsletter. There’s thousands of people on it. And literally once a week, I’m like, here’s how to come up better in search. Here’s how to run an ad on Facebook. It’s just framework. So restaurantsgrow.TV, that’s the best place to go.

Justin Ulrich
Very good. And I can attest that newsletter is fantastic. It has really solid nuggets, and it’s like it walks you through things. So it’s not just like theory. It’s great.

Rev Ciancio
It’s funny. You know, when I write that so you’re talking about creating content. I write that when I walk to the office. So I literally talk it into my yeah, I talk it into my phone while, like, thinking on the way to the office. When you get to the office, I dust it off. 

Justin Ulrich

I mean, hey, when you got Katy Perry singing you and stuff like, this is what you do. This is how you operate as a human being. And you’re also a robot, so you don’t even talk into your phone, you just think it.

Rev Ciancio
My son’s definitely a robot. I’m yet to be proven.

Justin Ulrich
Well, all right. Well, we got antivirus running on this. I got Norton going, so you should be safe on this episode. Well, cool. That does it for today. You know, make sure you follow Rev on social, uh, check out his restaurant. What’s it called? Rev.

Rev Ciancio
Restaurantsgrow.TV. Oh, my. Actually, my restaurant? Handcraft Burgers and Brew.

Justin Ulrich
Perfect. Handcraft Burgers and Brew. Check it out. I’ve seen tons of clips. It looks fantastic. I wish I was in New York, but we don’t have it in North Carolina.

Rev Ciancio
Not yet.

Justin Ulrich
Tons of fun. Yeah, that’s right. Tons of fun having you on. Check out his awesome content. We appreciate having you in the lab.

Rev Ciancio
Thank you.

Justin Ulrich
As always, thanks for joining us in the local marketing lab. This podcast was sponsored by Evocalize. To learn more about how Evocalize can help you grow your business, visit evocalize.com

If you learned something from today’s episode, don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook at evocalize. That’s Evocalize and on X at Evocalize. 

And remember, keep innovating and testing new things. You’ll never know what connects with your customers best unless you try. Until next time. Thanks for listening.

Rev Ciancio

Co-founder of Handcraft Burgers and Brews, Head of Revenue Marketing at Branded Hospitality Ventures, and founder of Yeah! Management

Meet Rev Ciancio

Rev Ciancio is a seasoned expert in the restaurant industry, with over 20 years of experience. As the founder of Yeah! Management, head of revenue marketing at Branded Strategic Hospitality, and co-founder and chief marketing officer at Handcraft Burgers and Brews, Rev has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of restaurant marketing.

With a massive following across various social media platforms, including Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok, Rev is known for his creative and engaging content. His passion for helping restaurants succeed is evident in his work, as he shares tried and tested strategies that have proven to drive growth and revenue.

Host of the Local Marketing Lab podcast, Justin Ulrich - Headshot

Justin Ulrich

VP of Marketing at Evocalize

Meet the host

Justin is a seasoned marketing leader known for his creative expertise and innovative go-to-market strategies. With vast experience spanning both B2B and B2C landscapes, Justin has made his mark across a spectrum of industries including software, POS, restaurant, real estate, franchise, home services, telecom, and more.

Justin’s career is steeped in transformative strategies and impactful initiatives. With specialties ranging from channel marketing and brand management to demand generation, his strategic vision and execution have consistently translated into tangible results.


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