That’s a long time, no matter how good the pizza is.
So Gino’s, in Chicago, somehow came up with a great distraction. They let you write on the walls.
Really. You can write on the walls. You can write on the table. You can write on the chair (if you use a sharpie so it dries right away.)
You can’t write on the walls in the bathroom, though some people write on the signs forbidding it. You can’t write on the tablecloth, though they do have crayons and placemats.
I’m loved Gino’s for years. I didn’t realize until last week, however, that by giving customers, fans really, the opportunity to break the cultural rule that says “don’t write on walls”, they have permission to keep people waiting for a kind of food that is almost a commodity. Yes, the pizza is terrific–thick, cheesy, chunks of tomato and sausage. But still, fifty minutes?
Why does this matter? Because I’m convinced that there are other rules that, if we didn’t worry about them, would help customers become fans. It may not be writing on the walls. It may be using dry erase markers on windows instead of white boards. It may be begging customers to leave comments on your blog, reviews on your website. It may be giving away handfuls of candy with every order of sound equipment (Sweetwater Sound does this, even if the order is a single microphone cable.)
But do something that says, “They care more about a great pizza than they do the walls of their restaurant.”
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Paul W. Swansen says
Does that count towards you 300 words a day?
Very interesting concept. I think that you are correct. Sometimes breaking the rules causes real interest. It doesn’t even have to relate to your product, like writing on walls. I think that Becky’s post about “Hotter than Hell” night also demonstrates how breaking the typical mold generates buzz. The buzz can then generate loyal customers/fans. Good post
Jeremy @ RefocusingTechnology.com
Paul – nope. I get to write here in addition to my other blogs.
Jeremy – I love the reminder that the rules you break don’t have to relate to your product. I hadn’t thought of it that clearly.
Rod Murrow says
Rural, small-town grocer wrote on a wall in the back of his store in the early 1960s when his pet dog died: “A good dog” with name and date. Kept up the practice of local events, passing of local people, and the like. Invited guests in the cafe to add their comments. Fast forward to present, the store is closed, the former owner is deceased, but “the wall” is being photographed and preserved digitally even while the old building is gradually decaying. The store was Whittet’s County Store and Cowboy Grill in Dacoma, Oklahoma, my home-town. Not much is there nowadays, but the old memories live on!
Becky McCray says
The best burgers and fries in the county. Ate there when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.
Rod Murrow says
Before the Whittets bought the store, it was Murrow’s Grocery & Locker. I grew up in the store and still remember the day when my Grandpa Murrow got us four grandsons together and told us “You kids can have all the pop and candy you want!”
Donald Cranford says
This is one of the stranger innovations that I’ve heard of, but I really like it. Making it legal, of course, makes writing derogatory things on the bathroom wall seem much less subversive. But, I think, very subtly, they’re giving their customers a voice, which is a great way to make them more intimate with the brand concept.