Top Restaurant Stories from the Purple Goldfish Project


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The Purple Goldfish Project was an effort to crowd source 1,001 examples of marketing lagniappe. Brands that give little unexpected extras (g.l.u.e) in order to drive differentiation, improve retention and promote word of mouth. This post is the eleventh in a 12 part series looking at the top 200 examples from the Project by industry. Here are examples from the restaurant industry:


lou mitchells donut holes and milk dudsLou Mitchell’s (#83 submitted by CAA’s Simon Green) “There are reasons native Chicagoans and tourists alike consider Lou Mitchell’s a must-visit — from the donut holes and milk duds while you wait to the double-yolk eggs that make every dish even more sinfully indulgent, Lou’s knows how to do breakfast. Located in the South Loop, the restaurant has been a Chicago institution since 1923, and decades later, they’re still dishing out thick French toast, enormous platters of pancakes, fresh-baked pastries, and of course, those famous skillets. The extras are just as delectable. Lou’s boasts pure maple syrup, fresh-squeezed orange juice and slabs of toast served with every omelet. Be prepared to make some new friends — chances are good you’ll be seated next to strangers at one of the lengthy tables. Even if you don’t bond with fellow diners, the employees’ perpetually friendly smiles — and free Milk Duds for the ladies — guarantee that you’ll want to return soon.”

toy boat cafeToy Boat (#144 submitted by Molly Holtman of Bite) “Toy Boat, a great dessert shop on Clement Street in San Francisco, throws in two complimentary ice cream cones (cake or sugar, your choice) when you purchase a pint of ice cream. It’s kind of fun to eat ice cream in a cone at home. Plus, their rocky road and pumpkin ice cream is fantastic.”
[Nice simple complimentary touch from Toy Boat . . . sweet genius]

Sushi Time (#164 Submitted by John Phelps III) “I travel for work about once a month to Southern Delaware. If I happen to drive past Smyrna DE, about a half hour from my office, I always try to stop at this great sushi joint right off the highway called Sushi Time. The fish is always fresh and the service is always friendly, but what I think is really cool is the sushi chef aways gives you a different free appetizer before your order is ready. It is always something really delicious, always different, and in any other resturant it could be a $4-6 plate. I always go back and I tell everyone about the place.”

aj bombers p-nut bomberAJ Bombers (#152 Submitted by Phil Gerbyshak) One of my favorite Purple Goldfish is AJ Bombers (@ajbombers) in Milwaukee. Joe and his team consistently provide the Purple Goldfish by offering free peanuts… shot at you in metal WWII bombers. It’s way fun to get those from the bartenders. Making AJBombers even more fun is the fact he is on Twitter, recognizing customers and anyone who mentions the place, hosts Tweetups at Bombers, has guest bartenders where he donates shots folks can sell…with all proceeds going to the charity of the guest bartender’s choice. Full disclosure: I’ve been a guest bartender and raised money for my charity. Last but not least is everyone who wants one can get a Sharpie and put their Twitter handle anywhere they want at AJBombers, so when friends come in, they can look for your Twitter name and leave you a tweet…in real life.”

blt market pigs in a blanketBLT Steakhouse (#182 Submitted by Jamie Goldman) “BLT Steakhouse in White Plains gives a cheddar popover to start your meal along with bread. The popover has a card on the different ingredients and how it compliments the meal.”

maroni cuisine of northportMaroni Cuisine (#223 From Clark Johnson) “Maroni Cuisine in Northport NY is consistently rated by Zagat voters as either the best or among the best restaurants on Long Island. Mike Maroni beat Bobby Flay in a throwdown! The meals are exclusively customized tasting menus, prix fixe, with all the wine you can drink included. At the end of the meal, hours later, guests are generally presented with jars of Maroni Pasta sauce as a Thank You. Once you have used it, you want to go back for more (both the meal and the sauce!).”

bistro montageBistro Montage (#226) Tucked under the Morrison Bridge in Portland is a restaurant that boast a handful of purple goldfish. Here are 3 of my favorites: 1. A signature dish in Spam and Mac. Macaroni & Cheese with your favorite mystery canned meat. 2. Oyster and Mussel Shooters – slimy fellas served in a shot glass with some cocktail sauce and horseradish. Once ordered – the waiter or waitress will immediately scream to the kitchen . . . OYSTER SHOOOOOTER 3. Your leftovers get wrapped up in tin foil. Move over balloon animal guy, the staff at the Bistro will WOW you with their animals. Check out this scorpion.

alligator lounge bogooriginal post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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