The Whopper on wheels


USA Today reports Burger King is doing a test drive of home delivery.

That’s right, the Whopper has its own set of wheels.

But what about cold fries, you ask?

The burger restaurateur has invented a proprietary thermal packaging unit, USA Today reports, to ensure the order stays hot.

If you live in the boonies (as my papaw used to say) and love the Whopper but hate driving to town, don’t start counting your fries before they’re out of the deep-fryer. This is only a test, and Burger King may decide the concept does not work. The test is being conducted in a limited area. And deliveries are limited to within a 10-minute drive from a restaurant.

But hopefully, this test drive will translate into a success. This is a smart business move by Burger King to capture more business from a culture that loves convenience and home delivery of everything from pizzas to videos.

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‘Healthy’ marketing opportunities


A bicycle tour wound its way into Athens today (Sept. 14), providing city businesses a chance to show themselves off to potential future tourists.

The Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee, or BRAT, is an annual tour organized by the Tennessee State Parks, Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Cumberland Trail Conference. A portion of proceeds benefit The Cumberland Trail Conference, a non-profit organization that promotes the Cumberland Trail State Park. The tour is staged along one of six basic routes each year to showcase different rural regions of the state.

The 175 cyclists in this year’s tour came not only from the Volunteer State but from surrounding states and even as far away as Michigan. They made camp tonight at a city park and were setting off the next day for Fort Loudon.

But before they settled in for the evening, all 175 cyclists and their support staff of 20 dined in nearby restaurants. To the best of my knowledge, no local business offered special deals to the cyclists. But they could have picked up future business by doing so.

Events like this present great opportunities for a community to market itself to potential future tourists. Scan the local news for events that draw visitors to your community and decide how you can use the event to market your business. In the case of a bicycle tour, you could hand out water bottles labeled with your logo. If you own a retail business, hand out special discount cards at such happenings that offer free shipping. The possibilities are endless by creating good will with people who like to travel.

Stand out through branding


Branding may be only one of many factors you must make when launching a business, but it’s a crucial decision. It identifies you, your products/services and your philosophy to customers, hopefully making you stand out from the competition. And it protects your ideas from copycats.

You may build your entire business around a handful of ideas. For example, three men recently launched an independent restaurant in Athens, TN. Their restaurant, Tracks, is located in a former Central Park restaurant (for those not familiar with Central Park, this regional chain uses small, drive-through buildings with no internal seating). Tracks is owned by Shane Smith, a banker and Athens politician; Randy Dunlop, a successful Domino’s pizza franchise owner; and Eric Walker, a former high school assistant football coach.

Tracks serves hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets and milk shakes. Tracks’ owners said they came up with the name after a lengthy brainstorming session. Eric said the use of a railroad track logo is easily recognizable. The hot dog and hamburger toppings are referred to as “cargo.” The owners are thinking of pain

ting railroad tracks on the driveway, and are thinking of using a person dressed as a train engineer to wave at passing traffic.

Before opening Tracks, these business partners made a decision to create a theme around the restaurant’s name. That’s a great way to stand out from competitors.

The owners have also made an effort to stand out in other ways. Randy said since the restaurant could not compete with a cheap menu, he and his partners decided to compete on quality: The hotdogs are all-beef, Black Angus, and milk shakes use real milk from a regional diary that’s based in Athens. And the owners decided to give hiring preference to people who had been laid off, putting back to work more than a dozen people who had been laid off in an area that has a higher-than-average unemployment rate.

So, branding includes more than a name and words: It can bring in what products you offer and how you reach out to the community.

Photo by Anthony Dake

Tracks menu, photo by Anthony Dake

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