And if you look back at the television for the past 20 years, I’m 46. I can remember when I was 26, all of like in my mid-twenties, all of this stuff started. Sports has already always been reality tv, just very high-paid reality stars for the most part. Yep. But you look at all these Dancing with the Stars and the Voice and Survivor Prophet with Marcus Limona, as you look at Bar Rescue with John Tamper, all of those are reality two.
Reality tv. What’s great is that in 2007 when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone and what became, smartphones and devices that allow you to do so much, like you can shoot unbelievable content. Like right now I’ve got my laptop, I’ve got this fancy microphone, I’ve got another, what is that? A Cannon, E o s r, something on my desk that films me when I talk about these things.
Yeah, those are expensive. This phone 30, 40 bucks a month, or you pay six, 700 bucks one time for it. And I can [00:01:00] create just about anything I can create on those. And honestly, it will look better where its cons are consumed, which is the phone.
Hi, and welcome to the 91-Day Podcast. I’m Jonathan, and today I’ve got the pleasure of talking to Matt Pla from America’s Best Restaurants. This is gonna be super neat as part of the reason that I do a podcast. The entire reason that I got started doing a podcast is because of Matt. One day Matt and I were on a coaching call and I asked a question and Matt gave me just a simple answer.
He goes, you need to start a podcast. And so we did last year and now almost a year later. , we’ve got Matt to join us. And Matt, I just wanna one, thank you for the encouragement to start the podcast, but also thanks for taking time outta your busy day and all the things you’re doing to join us for a minute and chat.
We’re grateful. Can you give us a 32nd overview of people that may not know you, the business owners, and business leaders watching the [00:02:00] podcast? Tell us a little bit about Matt PLA and America’s Best Restaurants. Cool. Hey, I appreciate you having me on and I’m glad that my, my.
Pushed you to do something that I feel strongly about, which is telling your story. I’ve been in marketing and media since 19, I guess 96 technically. I graduated college in 98 and went into radio and television and was on the sales side, and production side. Eventually made my way into the sales side, exclusively developed a website for a family business back then, and the rest is history.
I’ve had a digital marketing company since 2008. In. I guess we call ourselves a digital marketing company, but we work with a lot more. One of our biggest assets is teaching our clients how to tell their story and their community. And one thing we encourage our restaurant clients is to have podcasts.
Not enough of ’em listen to us, but we’re getting better every month, more and more listening. But our company’s America’s best restaurants. We have 55 employees right now between our two divisions, our media, and our marketing side, we work with about 800 independent restaurants across the country.[00:03:00]
we focus on helping independent restaurants and our mission statement is to help them find more frequent customers. Cuz one of my taglines is infrequent customers don’t pay the bills. And I think you can understand that from a business consultant standpoint. And our biggest element of that is trying to get the restaurants to understand the opportunity that exists today on this storytelling device.
Everybody calls it a phone. I call it a media outlet because I come from radio and TV back in the nineties. If you were an independent restaurant owner in 19 99, 9 0.9 out of 10 of your marketing strategies revolve paying somebody to help you get your message in front of the right person. 2022 and 23 and 24 and beyond.
You don’t have to pay anybody for the most part. There’s so much free opportunity out there that’s just a matter of you taking action. . No, I agreed. And I think that’s one of the exciting things about what we do as well on the marketing side. You mentioned there’s something that intrigued me and we talk a lot on the [00:04:00] podcast about storytelling.
Can you give us some examples, Matt? Working with independent restaurants, in particular, that’s not somebody we work with. For those that are watching, what type of things could an independent restaurant share as far as their story? What types of media should they be creating and maybe even why a podcast for a restaurant?
It’s not something we normally think of. So I’ll pose a question to you and get your feedback. What is, if you picture this, you got McDonald’s, you’ve got Chipotle, you’ve got Starbucks. , what one item do none of those restaurants have that an independent restaurant has? What is one asset? I guess you could say that the independent restaurant down the street from here, barleycorns has that.
Those three big brands don’t have, I’m gonna think local ownership and involvement in the community. They have an. . McDonald, yes, it’s a franchise, but most of the people that own McDonald’s own 30, 40, 50 of ’em. They’re not stepping [00:05:00] in the restaurants, right? They’re not in their communities.
And I heard a quote about three weeks ago in Vegas from a guy named David Scott Peters, who’s a restaurant operations consultant. He was talking about restaurants not having certain things in place to operate. Checks and balances theft management operations from a cleanliness standpoint of how you market inside your restaurant, all these little items.
And he’s, everybody always complains, you understand? Oh, they won’t do it. And he’s, he posed the question, he said, then explain how there are multiple brands with 1000 plus locations across the country that never have an owner step inside the four walls, Starbucks. Was created by, was it Howard Schwartz or Schultz or something like that?
. He’s not stepping into Starbucks. He’s not on the three that are in the mall, on Mall Road here in Florence, ever. But somehow they still operate at a very high capacity. So his challenge to those restaurant owners was somehow [00:06:00] these big brands, these behemoths, have put in place systems and processes that allow 16 to 21-year-olds for the most.
Manage the entire operation without an owner. They have a gm, a manager, regional manager. You as an operator of an independent restaurant with 1, 2, or 3 locations, have you in there? Why? Look at that from the marketing side. What is the biggest advantage you have as an independent restaurant is that you have something that you can have an impact on The community, your story.
Nobody gives a. about the manager at McDonald’s. If he were to go live on the Florence, McDonald’s Facebook page and talk about managing McDonald’s, okay, you’re the same. And this isn’t to belittle it, but for the most part, most people that would see it, you’re the same as them. You work for a company.
. But if Bob Loman of Buffalo, Bob’s off Mount Zion goes live and talks about it, it’s been 35 years. [00:07:00] It’s been some good times, some bad times, but you’ve supported. I’m gonna go live every week. I’m gonna go live every day on my ride into the restaurant and talk about what’s on tap for that day. Maybe it’s a charity, a golf outing, or maybe a new employee.
Maybe the Pepsi machine broke. I’m gonna go live and tell that story because the number one TV type of TV consumed the last 20 years is reality tv. Yeah. When you look at the Bachelor survivor what is the music one? Next big singer, or there’s one of those things. Yep. Dancing with Stars, all those types things.
Yeah. Dancing. Those are all reality tv. All of us love that feeling of being able to walk into the restaurant and go, oh man that’s Bob. He owns a joint. And that’s big for a lot of consumers. And so the biggest asset a restaurant has is the fact that you are in the. and you are out there and you’re doing things.
You go to the same church as they go to. You have the same kids that play for the same sports teams. I crack up [00:08:00] number of times. I go to an athletic event and I see a restaurant owner that I know. They’re like, oh man, what’s going on? There’s one lady in particular, I’ve seen her at three different sport events the past two years.
She owns a local restaurant. She’s never wearing anything about the restaurant there. She’s never active in that community as that restaurant owner. She’s just there as a mom of the. and I’m like, wow your big opportunity is to be here. Yes. As that mom, but also as the figurehead of that small business down there, employing 50 people, giving back to a community, sponsoring this football game.
That’s a bigger story that Starbucks, McDonald’s, Chipotle will never have. And I have a saying I like to use called you can, and saying you can outspend or you can out. . The reason that Chipotle has a line when you don’t. The reason that Starbucks, last Friday, my wife and I drove by the Starbucks in Florence near our house, 7:00 PM on a Friday night.
I thought there was a rock concert going on wow. Apparently people drink coffee for dinner. , you know that. I feel sorry for their sleep patterns. But it was rocking [00:09:00] well, you’re never going to outspend McDonald’s, Chipotle or Starbucks or Applebee’s or Cracker Barrel. There’s all these brands that have so much brand equity, so many, so much financial resources, and they have a bigger footprint of their location.
So when you have, 30 Chipotle’s in the Cincinnati area, that money stacked up allows them to dominate people’s attention with paid marketing. Absolutely. You as a one location, Buffalo Bob’s off of Mount Zion in Florence, Kentucky. Don’t have those resources, but you do have this resource and you do have this your story.
And that’s most small businesses. Most small businesses like Guy that just pulled up to my office. Aaron Smith is a local realtor. He’s got a story. He owns a real estate firm. He’s got five employees and I always promote to him and he does it. He listens. He’s got a podcast. He actually has. And he films content every week.
He’s probably here showing up at our headquarters to film some content in one of our studios. And his advantage over other businesses like him is the [00:10:00] ability to attach his name, his brand, his community, standing with that company so that people relate to him differently. So when it comes time to make a choice, They choose the person they have a better relationship with, and there’s no better way to get a relationship than to get on this device and put video and stories out there on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, MySpace, if it’s still around.
I love it, man. And one of the things I really like that you shared there, you I’m sure running into this all the time, I know we do as well. The business owners we talk to, they don’t know what to say on camera. And one of their big things is, what am I gonna say? What am I gonna talk about? Yep. And I love the one thing you said about why not as a restaurant owner, as any business owner, we all drive into work or, maybe we’re lucky enough to take a helicopter, but most of us drive into work.
Okay. And why not take. Five minutes, use that mobile phone and talk about, hey, here’s what’s going on for the day. Because people in our community and the clients that we’re dealing with, they [00:11:00] wanna know who we are because they’re not choosing to do business just because of our brand. Like you said, there’s larger national brands.
They’re doing business because of the connection they make with us as individuals. That’s a huge share. Wow. I’ve never thought of it quite that way. I love that idea. Just, yeah, what’s going on today? What’s happening? And I can see as a restaurant owner in particular, I don’t know how to fix a Pepsi machine, but I can relate if it’s a problem that you’re dealing with, and it helps me appreciate what you are doing when I walk into that restaurant today for lunch.
And in fact, I may even be able to see you and go, Hey, Bob, did you fix it? And I love that. That’s fantastic. There’s so much that happens. The reason. . So which happens every day in small business. And the reason that reality TV became huge, number one, the reason it became huge was the fact that it was a way for TV companies to have cheap talent.
I dunno if you know that or not, but bad today I saw a big interview with the guy that was Survivor and he is what I love about this is that Seinfeld, they’re paying a million [00:12:00] dollars an episode to Jerry and George and Elaine and Kramer. I’m not paying anything to these morons on Survivor that are jumping over barbed wire snake.
To try and win something and yet consumers are captivated by it. So true. And if you look back at television the past 20 years, I’m 46, I can remember when I was 26, all of like in my mid twenties. All of this stuff started. Sports has already always been reality tv, just very high paid reality stars for the most part.
But you look at all these Dancing With the Stars and the Voice and Survivor Prophet with Marcus Limona, as you look at Bar Rescue with John Tamper, all of those are reality two. Reality tv. What’s great is that in 2007, when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone and what became, smartphones and devices that allow you to do so much like you can.
unbelievable content. Like right now, I’ve got my [00:13:00] laptop, I’ve got this fancy microphone. I’ve got another, what is that? A Canon E O s R. Something on my desk that films me when I talk on these things. Yeah, those are expensive. This phone 30, 40 bucks a month, or you pay six, 700 bucks one time for it. And I can create just about anything I can create on those.
And honestly, it will look better for where it’s cons consumed at, which is. Yeah, so true. I’m working on a a presentation right now tweaking our company presentation our messaging based off of what I see and what I realized the opportunity is, and I am walking onto the airplane yesterday and I’m leaving.
I was in Key West Florida. It’s a small airport. I’m walking up the little ramp to the plane. I look over, there’s the luggage cart. There’s three people work that work for Allegiant that are on that luggage. The luggage is already loaded onto the plane. Guess what all three of ’em are doing? On their phones or on their phones?
Literally. I wish I could show you this picture. I might be able to put it up on the screen. [00:14:00] It’s funny cuz it tells the story like you can see two of the three. Oh yeah, they’re on their phones. I’m granted they got time to kill him. There’s a third guy right here who’s actually on his phone as well, was looking down in his other hand.
Looked like he was sleeping at first. That’s why I caught my attention. But he was on his phone looking in his lap. They’re not reading news articles more. They might be, but there’s a better chance. Yeah. They’re watching video. They’re on YouTube. They’re on Instagram, they’re on TikTok.
They’re on Facebook, they’re on text. They’re on email, then they’re on the internet. Exactly. That is such an opportunity. And if you think about, going back to the storytelling, most people have never owned a business. Most people like, I don’t know what the number is. I one to bet is probably 98% of people do not own a business that go to work every day.
And so when you think about that, that not only can they relate with your struggle, like the restaurant business is, Oh, I bet business compared to the restaurant [00:15:00] business, a hell a lot easier. But like I remember our boat dealership, we had a boat dealership for nine years. That’s how I got on the internet marketing world back in 1999.
I created a website for a family boat dealership. Me and my end brother started, we started it on the internet selling boats and campers on consignment online. We eventually grew it to a 15 million a year, three location business. Wow. I remember telling a friend of mine after I got out of radio cuz for three.
I guess, anyway, four years. I did both. I worked in radio full-time and I worked at the dealership full-time and I worked a hundred plus hour weeks, and that’s what I did. And then I got outta radio and went completely with the dealership and then got back in the marketing after 2008. And so I remember telling my friends, it was comical.
I’m like, Hey, man. because I remember I’m gonna answer every phone call, I’m gonna talk to, everybody walks in my front door, because I remember back then the disrespect you felt as a sales rep for advertising that you couldn’t get owners to call you back. They wouldn’t answer your email. Back then email wasn’t huge, but still was there.
You’d walk in the front door and you would see the guy that owned the business at his desk, and he wouldn’t take the time to come out [00:16:00] and shake your hand. And I was like, this is bull crap. I’m gonna be the difference maker. I’m gonna answer every. within a month. I called Jimmy Lebar and Doug Smith, two of the guys, Doug actually is my c o of this company.
Now. I’m like, dude, it’s not possible. What do you mean it’s not possible? Every day I walk in the office, there is 50 things wrong. Somebody, Eric backed a camper through our front window of our dealership. One of our four-wheelers came off the trailer on the way to delivered it to a client. , a part is back order.
The customer’s mad. So and so called in sick, like it was a it every day was the only days, it was never something was when we’d have a snowstorm and the entire city be shut down and then we got to go back there and take the four wheelers in our seven acres with the tube and pull each other on boat tubes behind.
Got a concussion twice. That was a different story . But those are the stories that can be told. And you’re driving in. Have a phone on a tripod, click record or go live. E either one works, but click record if you want to and just say, Hey, every day [00:17:00] it’s Matt on the way to the re. Big day today. I got so-and-so starting.
She’s brand new. I look forward to seeing what she’s gonna do. Oh yeah. One of our, one of our employees was Val Victoria High School. We can’t wait to see her. We got a gift for her. It’s pretty cool. And we got a new menu we’re gonna work on, so I’m gonna be doing some taste testing. By the way, if you’re watching this and you wanna come and taste test with me, it’s pretty cool.
I got about an hour I’m doing it. I could probably have five or 10 people come in and taste test with me, let me know, hit me up, message the page, blah, blah, blah, turn it off. You do that every day, and you do it correctly if you record it, correct. You now have content you can share on Facebook Instagram stories, Facebook stories, YouTube shorts, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, Snapchat.
You’ve got, oh, on Twitter, you got 10 places for zero cost that you could record that video. Either have it assigned to somebody on your team or do it yourself. Like me, I record that video. I text it to Peter, post it. . It’s a no lie. Once you type out the [00:18:00] description and maybe you’re call to action and something like a headline, it’s five minutes.
To literally type that out, record the video, and then probably 15 minutes to distribute it across 10 platforms. But so powerful. So powerful. So why would you not do that? And that’s gonna make a connection with you like nobody else. And also, if you don’t use that time to just spew me. Maybe on the way in, you’re like, , big news.
The Royal High School Marching Band is leaving tomorrow for Hawaii. One of eight bands in the United States chose to go to the Pearl Harbor March. We’re stoked. Congrats. R Band. I’m looking for somebody that knows somebody there that can connect you. I wanna have ’em on a live like this in a restaurant.
Love, like you can use it. I love it That. and none of ’em are doing it. And when I say none of ’em, literally 9.9 out of 10 small businesses, especially restaurants are too busy working in their business and not analyzing the [00:19:00] opportunity and taking action on things like that. That if you were to do that, and let’s just imagine Jonathan, like I remember my first know about yours, my first ever Facebook Live.
A long time ago. There were this many. Yeah, absolutely. I remember watching it be live and I’m like, huh, nobody’s watching. Should I keep talking or should I shut up? And I’m like, screw it. I’m gonna keep going. and I had a guy the other day give me crap. He thought he was, trolling me on, on, on TikTok about how, oh man, who cares?
You got 3000 followers and you got a hundred views on your videos. I’m like, okay, I’ll take that. Cuz the people I hear watch my videos like gimme feedback are restaurant owners. They’re my target market. And if I take a hundred views on TikTok every. And we actually do 10 posts a day, typically across platforms.
Stuff. I do TikTok, if I take those 10 platforms, I mentioned TikTok. Yep. Yep. Instagram. Instagram Stories. Facebook. Facebook Stories. My personal Facebook, I forgot about that one. LinkedIn. YouTube. YouTube shorts. Twitter. If I take all those platforms and get 50 to a hundred views every day, 365 days a year, 10 [00:20:00] years in a.
If you want the proof, look at Grant Cardone. He’s got a book, I don’t know where I put it in my office somewhere, but it’s talks about money, follows attention, and he’s got a chart. So true. He’s got a chart that back in 2012 when his company was 3 million a year to last year, where it ended 122 million, the chart mimics his Google.
His Google trends and his Google trends are fed by his brand being looked up online, based on him messaging ever, being on everybody’s phone everywhere on his platforms. I remember when it happened, it was, I remember when it got really big. You know who Mari Smith is? She’s a Facebook.
Yeah. Okay, so I’m at a conference, I’m at trafficking conversions. guys, I think it was 2016 and Mari Smith was up on stage and she’s Hey, I’m gonna tell you about a guy. And she’s pretty damn smart on Facebook. She was wrong. She is. She goes, I’m gonna tell you about a guy who is doing it all wrong.
Y’all might not have heard of him. Maybe you had his name’s Grant Cardone. And at that time I had heard of him. Had no clue he was, I had just seen his stuff cuz it’s popping up everywhere. He’s gonna ruin his brand because he’s going live [00:21:00] 14 times a day. He’s posting 20 times a day. He’s all over it. He’s gonna wear his audience out and he’s gonna hurt his brand.
You shouldn’t do that. Here’s what you should do, and it’s funny as you look at this chart, I dunno why I got it. I got it somewhere in my office. You gotta drive me crazy. It used to be sitting on my desk. Somebody might be jacked, but it’s this chart that shows literally 2012 when he started doing that, 2000 13, 14, 15, when he got a little bigger.
2016, 17 was when he, I think it was like 14 live videos a day across all the platforms. Wow. And you can see the chart just go way up. And it’s the same with the local business. If you’re a restaurant and you were to go live on video 10 times a day, seven days a week, for the next three. As long as you’re not a moron.
. As long as you have good product and as long as people can relate with what you’re talking about, it’s going to work. Now, if you get on there like Kanye West and spew a bunch of ignorant crap, you’re probably screwed. But if you get on there and you tell stories, and you tell your [00:22:00] story and you tell Sarah’s story of Altor in your restaurant, you tell the story of the local band.
You tell the story of this new pizza you’re making, you invite people down for a V I P night, it’s going to work. It just takes absolutely. . And it takes that repetition. It, it reminds me, I saw Gary Vaynerchuk just recently did a video to a bunch of retail store owners, and I know that’s a different audience, but still local business people.
These were not chains. These were all local stores. And one of the things he ma, he mentioned, I’ve never thought of. . I’d love to get your perspective on Matt. He said, look, if you’ve got a retail store, I’m assuming a restaurant’s similar. You’ve got times a day when your staff is down there.
There’s not a lot going on. And he goes, instead of having ’em sit there and talk to each other, what about if you would pay them to pull out their phone, which they’ve got in their pocket anyway, and record one thing a day, one video a day per employee about something going on in the store that’s positive that.[00:23:00]
Don’t direct them. Don’t just one thing that’s positive. Maybe it’s again a teammate you work with that had a great day, the celebration they’ve got. Maybe it’s the fact that you got something new in that day or you’ve got a new entree in the restaurant that you thought was really good or you taste that said something that you’ve had for years and you never tried.
What do you think of that as a concept to take your team and encourage them and incent them just in their downtime. Pull out that mobile phone and create a. 30 to 92nd video once a day. I think that you could create tons of content. I feel like you’re setting me up. Do you know my, or do you know my origin story?
Have you ever seen my video, how I got in internet marketing? I have not. Matt? No. 2002 ish three. We kept getting viruses at our boat dealership. I think it was 2003 cuz we were ran our new building. Okay. And we kept getting vi every month. I had a thousand, $2,000 bit bill from a guy named Glen Warner, was a great local businessman died a few years ago.
R i p, awesome guy. He’s the one that turned me on the internet. He’s the one that sold me a book in 1999 on how to [00:24:00] create websites on Adobe Page mail. And if Matt Plap, I’m not a tech person. Granted. I know how to do a bunch of crap now. , but I’m not a tech person. I’m a sales and marketing guy.
Yep. And so he told me this book. He became our web guy, our computer guy, and I’m getting every month, a thousand, $2,000 invoices because of him coming in and fixing virus. I’m like, bro are you screwing me? Are you set, are you putting these virus? No, I’m not putting the viruses. I said how do we fix it?
Because I’m tired of every month the same crap. He goes, I’ve got an idea. We’re gonna put a gate. a gate to the internet on your computers. Cause it’s coming from the internet. So this way every employee will have a unique username and password that only they know. And then in a next month or two, we’ll be able to see where people are going that’s causing this problem.
I said, cool. So we told all the employees, Hey, we’re not spying on you. We need to know where the virus is coming from. One of y’all’s doing it, there’re two or three. It was at that time, I think we had about 40 employees. And I said, so here’s what’s happening. So they did it. About two months later, he finds the problem, he fixes it.
It was this lady that was going to. Suspect sites sure. Don’t go into that. [00:25:00] And that was caused the virus, I think it was a Trojan horse, what do they call it back then? They still exist. And so flash forward about a month after that, he comes in with this binder. No lie, I wish I had it, man. It would’ve been gold.
It was like this big. And I’m like, what is that? And it’s me and my dad. He goes, this is why your dad’s gonna wanna fire everybody and this is why you’re gonna, this is what you’re gonna love. I said, what is it? This is the internet usage of your employees. The last six. And it’s categorized. It’s categorized by, there’s these things called chat rooms.
I remember this is oh three ish. There is no, I don’t know if Google, I Google was around, but there’s no, like Google, there’s no, was no social aspect of Google as a search. Yeah, no social media. There is no Facebook, Instagram. I don’t know when YouTube started. I don’t think it was even out them. And so he shows me this and he is it’s all categor.
And so to put a little perspective in it, when we hired people, we sold ATVs, fishing boats and campers. That was the majority of our stuff. So they were outdoorsmen, good old Kentucky boys. [00:26:00] And that was our avatar for our hire too. Like you couldn’t come work for us. Like Richie Young who worked for us was a hardcore Fishman and Hunter.
Like half the time I couldn’t even come work cuz he said it’s Turkey season or deer season, or he is the bass or biting on big bunk. Sean was the same way. Robby, everybody in our company was one of those items. 18 year old cashier had to prove that she knew outdoors cuz I don’t like people that point and don’t know what the hell you do.
Yep. So taking that into consideration, he sh throws his binder on my desk and he goes, I’m gonna show you something. This is the Airstream forums chat room. This is the Arctic Cat chatroom, this is fishing.com, bass boat central.com, four wheeling. It was all these chat rooms about that industry. My dad’s oh my God, they’re on these all the day.
I’m like, he’s yeah. He’s they’re all fired. He goes, I. And he goes, but here’s the other part, Matt. They all have sponsorships and then if you buy sponsorships on these websites, you now have the ability to market in these chat rooms in a non-marketing way. So I said, okay, let me look into this.
And I had [00:27:00] no clue what chat rooms were then, to be honest with you. So I went to phish.com, aspo central.com, Airstream forums, those Arctic Cat ATVs. It was literally, that was like, I think it was 17 or 20 of these chat rooms somewhere in that neighborhood. And for whatever reason, back then it was 500 bucks to 600 bucks a.
to be an exclusive sponsor and their rules were okay, like Bass Boat Central. We were the exclusive Triton bass boats dealer nationwide. Nice 2,500 active daily bass boat owners on the website, . So we sold bass boats. There’s 2,500 people on there every day that are using bass boats. I’m like, it’s a pretty good fit.
And it ended up growing to 20,000 by the time we were done with, by the time we got outta the business, they were on there. and so I went to them and the guy’s name was Al. He’s from Canada. And he was like, Hey, his was like 600 bucks. $600. You the exclusive Triton dealer Nationwide. Your employees have to have their real name.
It can’t be like Fat Sean, 76. It has to be Sean from Plak Outdoors has to have your company logo and a link to [00:28:00] your website. Now I had no clue all this crap meant cuz he is like in awe you can’t sell and I need you to, every hour, somebody from your company needs to be in the chat rooms answering the questions.
things pertinent to Triton, bass boats. That is what, that’s the trade offer. You getting this exposure and the money. Okay, cool. So I went to Sean, I said, Hey Sean, I need a favor from me. He’s what? I’m like, ma’am, I bought a sponsorship on this website called Bass Boat Central. Like at this point they’ve already forgotten about the virus thing.
Sure. And he is oh yeah, I know Bass Boat Central. I’m like, cool. I need a favor. What? I need you every. to go in there and answer questions pertinent to people what they’re asking on there Hey, I got a Triton t R 21 with a 2 25 Yamaha h HP d i motor. I’m only getting 64 miles hour. I should probably be getting 75 according to the specs he gets in there.
He is Hey, are you waxing the bottom of your boat? Do you have an extra trolling motor in your, like he’s diagnosing the speed problem. , this was what we told every employee to do. We gave every employee, we assigned them a chat room and be ab be highly active at it. [00:29:00] About four months after this, and this is you can’t make this crap up.
It’s so funny. About four months after that, we’re in Nashville, Tennessee at the Grand Ole Opry. We’re there for the Yamaha dealer meeting. And a guy named Ben Jarret walks up, who’s like the head of Yamaha Marketing at the time, and we were the number three Yamaha dealership for two years in a row out of 2,500 in the United States for outboard motors.
So Wow. We had a little pole and we had grown, and we always did things around the lines like you weren’t supposed to do. Like we sold motors nationwide. We sold ’em for very high margins, which was unique because typically people that sold stuff nationwide back then Were giving it away.
Yeah. And people got pissed off. But we were selling our stuff for high margins, but we were always like skirting the lines on. We were really aggressive. And so this internet thing comes up and I had no clue what we were really doing. And so Ben comes over Hey, I need to show you something. He goes to this website called Google, and I had no clue what Google was.
He goes to google.com and types in Yamaha, four stroke motors. and the search that comes up is flaps pro Outdoors flaps.com, number one. Number two, Yamaha was like four something and he is I need to know how you did this. I’m like, I didn’t do it. And he’s [00:30:00] yeah, you did. I’m like, I didn’t do it.
He’s you’re not in trouble. I said, okay. I probably did it . And so when I said, dude, I don’t full honestly, I have no clue how I did it. He’s I need your favor. Can you figure out, because the Internet’s coming, you obviously understand it more than anybody else, or at least you’re doing something that is cheating it.
Sure. I need. Come back and let me know cuz I was a part of, when we were on the Yamaha TW top 20, it was called the Symposium 20, where they got the top 20 dealers together every three to four months. Usually it was Shreveport, Atlantic City or Vegas. And they would get us together and for five days we would brainstorm what was working in our business.
Yamaha would put together a packet and give it to the 2,500 or so dealers and say, look, the top 20 are doing this. And so I became the internet expert guy on accident . So I came back, I said, Glenn, Why am I beating Yamaha? And he explained search engine optimization. He explained what Google was. He explained back links he ex Matt, you’ve got 20,000 plus at that time.
Back links. To your website. From [00:31:00] websites that are 100% about your target and every one of those posts are stuffed with keywords that aren’t selling. Like you’re diagnosing people’s engine in both. Exactly. And having valid conversations. So to pull this all together, back to your example, Gary V was, I leveraged 15 to 20 employees and said, do this every hour.
And they got to have fun. So if you look at the restaurant standpoint, maybe the restaurant or a retail company is like, Hey, , let’s do some fun stuff, get in the local chat rooms, like I promise there’s probably 10, 10 Facebook private groups in every community. That those employees could be in there talking to.
Now, the thing you gotta do is be a person, don’t be a salesperson. Have fun. Exactly. Talk about something. . No, I think I, it’s amazing and thanks for sharing the backstory, man. I knew you guys had the dealership and I knew that, but I had no idea about that whole, the whole forum issue and the chat groups.
It’s, I think it still applies today, even though things are different, like you said, I just [00:32:00] thought it was one of those well dumb moments when Gary’s up on stage and he is look, you’ve got people standing around your grocery. , they can’t stock shelves eight hours a day. Yep.
They’re there. P pay them to go encourage them. Pull that phone out and talk about something positive that’s happening in the community, at your store with a teammate, whatever it is. And two things. One, you’re creating lots of content which is relevant to your audience. And two, you’re actually causing, because of that positivity, you’re causing your staff to have a more positive outlook on things because they’re not just focused on the fact that, oh crap, I gotta work on another three hours, or this or that.
They’re now focused on things they love to do. Yep. And they’re talking about positives. And I would say you don’t have to pay ’em. If you empower. I’m imagining if I’m a restaurant owner and let’s say I’ve got two or three hours of downtime, and I’m like, okay, guys, on top of making sure we set up our stations, we do this, we have the restaurant ready when the next customer walks in, take your phone, go [00:33:00] live on Facebook and show how you make your fa your favorite off the menu burger.
Absolutely. Every restaurant has their burgers. That sells burgers. . And they’ve got a burger that’s now the menu that Joe from the Kitchen makes. And it’s dude, our guy Joe makes this burger. I call the Joe Extreme, let’s go back and make it. I’m gonna go, we’re live baby. And he goes back and he is Joe, make me the Joe Extreme.
He goes, burger sizzling cheese going outta jalapenos hot sauce, the pepper jack, cheese, onion, straws, a giant onion ring and bacon. And boom, there it is. And it’s this is unbelievable. It’s not on the. , but wink. If you come in the restaurant, I’m sure you could convince us to make you a Joe special.
I don’t know what the hell it would cost. We’ll figure that out. But that’s fun. And then you could also Oh, yeah. And who wouldn’t go there for lunch. Yeah. And so then you could have fun with that. Empower your people to use that device. Also at other events, like I recently saw, there was three things this year that stick out to me that I saw nobody covered in my.
Number one, that high school I was talking about, Ryle High School is across the street [00:34:00] mile from my house. It’s across the street from a pizza restaurant, and it’s within three miles of probably 25 local independent restaurants. I haven’t seen or any of them talked about the Ryle High School band being one of eight bands in United States to go to Hawaii in March in the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade.
So how you’re not using video to tell a story, how you’re not finding out when the band is leaving the. On the buses and walking across there with your phone and going, what’s up? It’s Matt from Starters Diner. We’re at Ryle High School. You see those buses? Yeah. Kids are yelling, they’re heading to Hawaii.
Boom boom. You talk about it. Now you’re leveraging your audience to story tell about something impacting the community, and you’re not asking for them to buy food. And then the other one, which catches my attention was my high school played. Game before the state championship against a rivalry down the street.
I went to the game, they got pummeled. It wasn’t even pretty, it’s, the schools are much different now from a standpoint of my old high school doesn’t [00:35:00] recruit and can’t, and this one does, but nobody covered the game. It’s two high schools within I think probably three miles of each other, and there’s no restaurants locally there.
Hey, it’s Matt Starter’s restaurant. You know what? I took the night off from making pizzas. The team’s got it. I’m here watching the Beachwood Lloyd football game to see who, which one of these Northern Kentucky powers goes to the state championship in two weeks. Let’s check it out. Stay tuned, and come live every quarter with score updates.
And then that game led to Beachwood going and winning the state championship two weeks later, which again, nobody. And then the funniest one, which to me is just mind blowing, Jonathan, mind blowing, is that you’ve heard of a station called espn, right? Oh, yeah. Okay. I think we’ve all heard of that one. So Ry High School, let’s see, my daughter’s a junior in college now, so she was a senior three years ago.
Her, one of her childhood best friends, another girl, they were juniors. They won the state championship and they were like player one and player two of the year. Girls, is it the girls high [00:36:00] school basketball? The second year they would’ve won. It would’ve been their senior year, but it got canceled cuz of Covid.
Like day before the game got canceled. State championship. Oh man. So these two girls ended up this past January, one was playing at Oregon and one was playing at Washington and they were playing against each other on ESPN streaming. The restaurants in our area could have had broadcasting inside their four walls a game that featured cuz who gets no attention?
Women’s sports. We know that Absolutely they, you could have had highlighted these two local girls that played basketball together their entire career that won the state championship that were the like number one and number two girl bass female basketballs in say Kentucky, went on to big time division one basket.
and they’re on ESPN streaming, playing against each other. What a story. Huge. Nobody crickets. The Cincinnati inquire covered it. Nobody covered it. And I’m like, man, if I’m a restaurant, here’s the [00:37:00] opportunity. Number one. I’m gonna watch. I’m gonna watch the game in my restaurant. Number two, the month before the game.
I’m gonna. The parents of the one girl in the parents of the other girl in for another one, and then the coach, and then some of the players that play with us. So there’s five opportunities to do five podcasts. Four leading up to the event to talk about. What’s it like seeing your daughter play at that level, live in her dream of playing major college basketball?
What’s it like seeing your teammate? What’s it like seeing two girls you coached? There’s four weeks. The parents, the players, and the coach that you could have live video. Just like this. This is recorded, but it could be live. Yep. In the restaurant, talking to Eaton Pizza, talking about this game, and then, hey, by the way, we’re talking about this because in four weeks they play, we’re having it here at the restaurant.
We’re gonna have a huge event come in, we got a 10 outside. We have extra seating cuz it’s gonna be cold. It’s like January, February. We’re gonna do some fun with it, and then we’re gonna have contests on Facebook. Who’s gonna score more points? Matt or Lauren? Who’s gonna [00:38:00] have more rebounds? Matt or Lauren?
Who’s gonna have this? Who’s on team? Matt, who’s on team? You could do so much with it. And the cool part about it is you could build up a 60 day marketing campaign that does absolutely zero talking about your restaurant. And that’s such a mind. It’s a mind a messing with consumer’s minds because Absolutely.
They’re like, holy, he’s not talking about pizza. Maybe I’ll go get pizza because the whole money follows attention thing comes back to what I call massive attention. If your restaurant gets massive attention and excitement on a consistent basis, you will sell more food consistently. If you always talk about your pizza and how great it is, who gives a shit?
People either like your pizza, they don’t. They go away. But if you’re talking about the R band, the R basketball team, Maddy, Lauren, this game, all of a sudden you’re in people’s phones on Spotify and Facebook and Instagram and TikTok for a complete opposite of your re. and the more often I hear about your restaurant in a context that’s [00:39:00] not that, and I consume your marketing, I now of a sudden want to eat at your damn restaurant more often.
. . No. So true. Wow. Matt, absolute gold. I love the way you tell stories, by the way, and it’s just I’m sitting here enthralled going, man, this is the best stories and it everything resonates. It’s so amazing. I’ve taken up a ton of your time today and I am grateful, but before we call it quits, I do want to ask you one more question, and that’s about the name of the podcast.
We call it 91 Day Podcast. And the reason we do, as I shared with you, Is as we look forward, you and I both know there’s a whole lot of people that don’t have positive outlooks about the future. I’m not one of ’em. I believe the future’s bright, but I think we’re gonna see a lot of people that are thinking about maybe starting their own gig, trying something new.
and I want to ask you, as a successful marketer and business guy, if you had to tomorrow start over and you had three months to create a business with a goal of generating \$10,000 a month, either recurring or just on a billable basis, whatever, but [00:40:00] build that business to that level, and then hopefully beyond, what would you do again with only a grand in your pocket?
What would you do to build that business? So I love this question cuz I’ve heard it before. I’ve heard like Grant Cardone when he did the undercover billionaire, I think they had a thousand bucks and their, theirs was Insane’s. A great series. Haven’t even watched it yet on it is, it’s on HBO or Discovery.
I think it’s discovery, but what would I do? So number one I’m the belief that like we’re in the digital marketing, like the marketing space, there’s a lot of people that start marketing companies and they wanna go nationwide instantly when they haven’t proven what they’ve done locally. . Exactly.
So I started this company in 2008. From 2008 to 2015. We were 100% local businesses, and the way I found those local businesses was number one B, and I was number two. Like chambers of co chamber of commerce events. And number three, knocking on doors. So what I would do with that thousand dollars is, and you can [00:41:00] nowadays set up stuff really cheap, but I would get my logo.
My colors and my website and my social media presence done right away. I bet if you were pretty good at using the internet to find it, you could probably get that done for under 250 bucks, all of that. Agreed. Yep. And then the next thing I would do is I would hop over and find a b and I chapter, which is Business Network International of professionals, and I would go and look at five or 10 of ’em.
You could visit a chapter twice before you have to join. And so in Cincinnati, I think there’s 30 or so chapter. So if I could visit 30 chapters twice, they meet weekly, that’s 60 meetings a week, for a couple weeks I couldn’t do that, but over a course of 60 days, sure I can visit every one of those chapters twice, at least once, and then I’m gonna join one of ’em.
So now I don’t even use the money to join because I’m going. And if I go to two a day, that’s two weeks. I can work through those chapters, build relationships, get my [00:42:00] name. Shake hands, kiss babies. But then more importantly, I’m gonna be able to find which one of those chapters has the influencers in it that can influence my target audience.
Perfect. Because if I was doing it back then for restaurants, I’m looking, okay, I don’t wanna join a chapter that has 10 people that have no influence over restaurants. I wanna join people. That chapter has 10, 20 people that have influence over those restaurants, that have ’em as clients. And so that would be my tactic.
And then if I had any money left, I would use it to start creating content. Now, I got a cell phone. It’s gotta be free, but I might buy a better microphone or a little light. One of the reasons my camera is situated where it is, I have a giant window right here that this light from that mother nature comes in.
I don’t need lights in here. So I would invest in equipment to make my content. I put out more impactful, and then I would just run hard and run hard, and now hustle everybody. great advice. And I think it, it fits in so well with a couple of the other people we’ve interviewed and it’s really about getting involved and connecting with people that can help you connect with your audience.
And, b and I chamber the [00:43:00] great ways to do that without blowing a lot of money. Yeah. And I think so important, based on what you said, having been in B and i’s in the past, we did that when we started. We, this is our 13th year. We didn’t go to national until 2020. And that was our 11th year in the business or 12th year in the business and we built it through b and i through chamber.
It did exactly what you said and it works. We were able, blessed, we built a seven figure agency doing business in West Michigan and then we were able to leverage that and grow. So obviously that one rings near and near, near and dear to me cuz it’s very similar to what we did. Great advice, Matt.
Great advice. Love it. As we leave people if some business leader’s watching this and obviously they’re gonna go, man I love Matt, but if they got a restaurant and they wanna find out what America’s best restaurant can do to help them implement and do the things you’re talking about, what’s the best way for them to get in touch?
We’ll put links and stuff, but what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you, Matt? So the [00:44:00] best place to start, which will take you down my rabbit hole, is go to matt pla.com. My name M a t p L A p p.com. And if you go there, number one, there’s a. It’s free of charge. Fill it out. We’ll send you some swag.
This is, it looks like a fist bump. It’s, it is, but it’s also mp. It’s my initials. So we send out swag boxes every week, free of charge to entrepreneurs who fill out the form along with a couple of my books and different guides we’ve got. And then you scroll the very bottom of that page and there’s my social links.
TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn. Check me out, follow me on those. Cuz I’m always given a lot of advice out, a lot of information about how to use marketing, how to use, use your mindset, how to leverage content. And then you also will find links on there for America’s best restaurants.com and things like that.
But the biggest thing I encourage people also, I do this all the time. If you don’t think I’m crazy, I put my cell phone number. My cell is 8 5 9 7 4 3 2 4 0 8. That is this device right here. It’s my phone. I have one cell phone. I’m not like Kevin Gates or rapper. I got two phones. I only got one. And [00:45:00] so if you wanna have a conversation, I’m always up to give entrepreneurs advice, always talk to people that need help.
Just shoot me a text. I rarely answer the phone, but shoot me a text and we’ll have a conversation there, then take it to a phone call. But I’m an open book. I love helping people. I got here because people opened their lives. Josh Nelson’s of the world, the Billy Jean Shaws of the world, the Chris Patterson’s, those people opened their world to me, which then allowed me to grow.
And so I only, I owe it back to the community of people who need that shortcut or that piece of advice or that motivation to like you create a podcast. Yeah. Talking about it. . Matt, that’s amazing and I want to tell the audience, Matt, is the real deal. I met Matt about a year ago in through a, an agency.
We’re involved in Josh Nelson seven figure agency. An amazing coaching group, but. Matt and I ended up chatting probably for the first time, seven, eight months ago when we were on a call and Matt happened to be one of the mentors. And I just, as he mentioned, I asked him some questions and he gave me real [00:46:00] practical advice and Matt’s always been available to do that.
He’s an incredibly abundance minded entrepreneur. I encourage you reach out. If not, pay attention to what Matt’s doing, cuz whether you’re in the restaurant business or not, you can learn a ton about how to promote your business and how to market. Watching what Matt’s doing, it’s a tremendous resource and a great guy on top of it.
So Matt, thank you so much for your time today. I know you are slam busy. I’m so grateful for the time you gave us. Have a very merry Christmas. This will probably air after that, but hey that’s all right. Have a very merry Christmas and hope you have a blessed New Year, my friend. Hey, thanks Jonathan.
Thank you for having me on. I appreciate the friendship and you’re giving me all these accolades. You’re an amazing human businessman as well. The everything goes back to you. I appreciate all you’ve done for me, because a lot of times when me having those conversations and coaching people and mentoring people, I’m like, oh, crap, I sh should probably do more of that.
I should probably do that. There’s been times I give advice. I’m like, huh, that’s a good idea. Maybe I should do it. So I appreciate it. I [00:47:00] appreciate what you bring to the community. I love you doing this podcast and everybody take your 91 days, take your a thousand bucks and go make it happen. Awesome.
All right. Have having you here. Thanks every.