Tag Archives: Promotion

House Rules: The Soft Opening

For some people a new year can also mean a new business venture. Whether you’re a national bank or restaurant chain buying up properties in a new market or a little guy opening a humble shop on a main street corner, your first instinct might be to hire a PR firm and an ad agency, build a lot of buzz, excitement and goodwill, and pull out every gimmick in the book from free iPads to air dancers and spotlights to midnight madness doorbusters. We say save it.

The Chop fully endorses and approves of the soft opening.

Baltimore is a city of small businesses and corner places in which you are your reputation, and reputations are still made by word of mouth. People in this town tend to be pretty savvy about what works and what doesn’t, even to the point of passing judgment on certain shops, cafes and bars without ever having been inside.

Word of mouth can make a bar legendary. Worked for this place.

This might seem counter-intuitive, but this is also a town of very few surprises. We’ve been just about every place that’s worth going, and the truth is that we’ve seldom been surprised. If someone says a spot has the absolute best bloody marys, they probably do. If the word on the street is that the service is terrible, you can believe that it is. And if a place gets a reputation as a neighborhood’s best kept secret, you’d be much encouraged to get yourself in there as often as possible.

Granted, in this day and age word of mouth is also word of email. It’s word of tweet and word of status update, as the folks at Cafe Hon are finding out. The bottom line remains the same though, if you’ve got the goods you’ve got a good reputation. You can hire all the PR people and social media strategists you want, but none of them can do for your business what a few good words, honestly spoken from a trusted source will do.

So we say skip the big grand opening, no matter what you’re opening. Don’t bother with the 60% off sales and the double-happy happy hours. Forget about the groupons and ad campaigns and luring critics in the door and all of that nonsense.

Just hang out your shingle, open your doors, and offer your offerings as best you can. Baltimore will do the rest for you.

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Vuvuzela Giveaway Night @ Camden Yards: Make it Happen, Baltimore!

Tonight the Chop and all of Baltimore welcome back the Orioles to our fair city after a long and disgraceful road trip. Well, it wasn’t that long, but it was plenty disgraceful. The Birds played horribly and continued to look like a collection of amateurs who not only are not a team in any proper sense of the word, but who look as though they’ve never actually met each other before.

Leadership is entirely non-existent. Most of the pitching staff is being abused to ruination, with guys like Brad Bergesen basically living out of their suitcases between here and Norfolk and no one seems to actually have or know how to play a position on the field, let alone a place in the batting order. One has the feeling that if they could possibly just stop showing up at the ballpark, they would.

The vuvuzela: now available in Oriole orange!

But they can’t. When they show up at the park tonight, the Florida Marlins will be there to greet them. In case you missed it, the Marlins were involved in one of the GREATEST MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL GAMES OF ALL TIME on Saturday when they GAVE AWAY 15,000 VUVUZELAS to the Fish Faithful.

According to reports throughout the baseball world it was one of the most wonderfully absurd, annoyingly horrible, and drunkenly awesome baseball promotions ever undertaken, ranking right up there with Disco Demolition Night or Ten Cent Beer Night. The Marlins, who are last in the majors in attendance numbers drew 7,000 fans over their season average on Saturday on the strength of the Vuvuzela horn, and those fans made a glorious noise.

“I really believe the horns should be banned from Major League Baseball. They’re annoying. There’s cool things and there’s very non-cool things. That’s a non-cool thing.”

That’s what Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon had to say about the vuvuzelas, but you know what? Fuck him. Seriously… fuck that guy! He doesn’t seem to have a problem when all 4000 of the Rays fans who bother to show up at the Trop keep ringing fucking cowbells constantly at every game for the last 10 goddamn years. They even bring those things to Camden Yards sometimes and you can hear them in field boxes all the way from the centerfield bleachers. So Joe Maddon can shove a vuvuzela up his ass as far as we’re concerned.

The Orioles should start giving away vuvuzelas immediately! At every game! It works! It boosts attendance! The Fans love it! It annoys players! And you know what? Those guys deserve some annoyance right about now. We would love to be able to personally contribute to giving Luke Scott, Julio Lugo and Juan Samuel splitting headaches.

If the Orioles are going to play as badly as the 1962 Mets, we feel that their fans should be just as rowdy as those early Mets fans, who would often bring air horns, giant banners and bullhorns to games, get as absolutely shitfaced drunk as it is possible to get, and yell their heads off well into the late innings, even when the Mets were on the down side of a laugher, which was often.

As it is though, we’ve got to settle for Ollie’s Tuesday bargain nights- which is tonight. See you at the Yard.

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The Orioles play the Florida Marlins tonight at Camden Yards. 7:05 first pitch. Jeremy Guthrie and Anibal Sanchez are probable Starters. Good seats still available.

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