Why all eyes are on Frank
How does a hot dog business capture the attention and imagination not only locals but of a nation and even the globe? Is it insanely creative marketing or gourmet ingredients? Is a focus on the local music and art scene, or a devotion to using local ingredients? Is it inventive recipes or a flawless and fun interior? For Frank in the Warehouse District in Austin, Texas, it is a magical combination of all of these things, and it isn’t a chain, or funded by Silicon Valley, no, Frank is owned and operated by Daniel Northcutt and his wife Jennifer, who together launched the restaurant in 2009.
For hundreds of reasons that are inspiring, yet near impossible to duplicate, the couple has made a name for themselves, and having been featured in a recent Google Chrome television commercial in which Jennifer humbly opines, “Opening a restaurant is utterly terrifying,” with Daniel adding, “We lost over half of our funding when everything took a big dip.”
Humility is part of the Frank brand, but there is nothing humble about their wildly inexpensive gourmet food – their sausages are made either in-house or just blocks away at Hudson Sausage Company on South Congress. Everything about this place screams Austin and gives people what they want, and with so many cities seeking to replicate the vibe of Austin, it is no wonder all eyes are on them.
Ridiculously perfected menu
Some people come for a traditional Chicago dog, or a plain dog, or get adventurous and try a nacho dog, but most people come for flavors like the Notorious P.I.G. (a sausage made of pork, bacon, jalapeno and sage), served with a side of mac and cheese, or the Sonoran (Vienna beef wrapped in bacon and deep fried), and they are mindful of vegetarians, offering options like the Portobello Cheesesteak, and even mind the details by offering flour tortilla wraps and gluten-free buns for various dietary needs. Sides include Texas Caviar (black eyed peas, red onion, green bell pepper, cilantro, red wine vinegar, lemon zest, olive oil) and Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies.
Frank has thought of everything, even bringing out drinks in Mason jars for that down home feel, and not only offers great microbrews, but you can order creative adult beverages like the Chili Cherry Chai or a Moustache Ride. The brand has also become famous for one of the best cups of coffee in town, offering tableside siphon coffee, opening at 7am to serve the city and staying open late as one of the post-party hot spots (and we can say from experience that nothing soaks up beer better than a good Frank dog).
Music and art – so very, very Austin
The cherry on top of Frank’s culinary success is that the location is now becoming a well known music venue, with the help of Daniel’s experience in the entertainment industry and as the co-owner of an Austin film company, it is no surprise that he could attract names like Ex Machina, Chesterfield, Best Best Best Friends and Bipolar Bears, all of whom will be performing at Frank this summer (and the kicker is that cover is typically under $10).
Another way that Frank taps the city’s culture is through their public art project which is best shown via video, and is difficult to miss when driving anywhere near 4th and Colorado streets:
Frank is an inspiration to all businesses
From a crisp logo, well designed website, guerrilla marketing, an amazing interior, great customer service, hyperlocal menu options, music and art, Frank took the idea of selling a hot dog and ran with it in a way that should inspire all businesses. In 2009, some would have said that hot dogs are for street vendors in New York, but with marketing savvy, culinary genius, and enthusiasm for the local community, the Northcutts made Frank one of the city’s top destinations and a local favorite, even in a down economy.
Frank is more than just a neat looking logo or a fun place to eat, it is a brand with substance and depth, which are often the missing ingredients of many companies that are built on ego alone. Take a visit to Frank and there is a chance you’ll be served by Daniel himself, and you would never know that he is a founder, because like his restaurant, he too is so very Austin – that is real influence.
Frank has earned over 665 Yelp reviews, and has been identified as an Act of Genius company. Frank has opened a second location in Nacogdoches, in East Texas, and we anticipate that the brand will continue to grow.
Images courtesy of Frank at HotDogsColdBeer.com
Are Gen Z more fickle in their shopping, or do brands just need to keep up?
(BUSINESS NEWS) As the world keep changing, brands and businesses have to change along with it. Some say Gen Z is fickle, but others say it is the nature of change.
We all know that if you stop adapting to the world around you, you’re going to be left behind. A recently published article decided to point out that the “fickle” Gen Z generation are liable to leave a poor digitally run site and never return. Now of course we’ve got some statistics here… They did do some kind of due diligence.
This generation, whose life has been online from almost day one, puts high stakes on their experiences online. It is how they interact with the world. It’s keyed into their self-worth and their livelihoods, for some. You want to sell online, get your shit together.
They have little to no tolerance for anything untoward. 80% of Gen Zers reported that they are willing to try new brands since the pandemic. Brand loyalty, based on in-person interaction, is almost a thing of the past. When brands are moved from around the world at the touch of your fingertips there’s nothing to stop you. If a company screws up an order, or doesn’t get back to you? Why should you stick with them? When it comes to these issues, 38% of Gen Zers say they only give a brand 1 second chance to fix things. Three-quarters of the surveyed responded saying that they’ll gladly find another retailer if the store is just out of stock.
This study goes even further though and discusses not just those interactions but also the platforms themselves. If a website isn’t easy to navigate, why should I use it? Why should I spend my time when I can flit to another and get exactly what I need instead of getting frustrated? There isn’t a single company in the world that shouldn’t take their webpage development seriously. It’s the new face of their company and brand. How they show that face is what will determine if they are a Rembrandt or a toddlers noodle art.
The new age of online shopping has been blasted into the atmosphere by the pandemic. Online shopping has boosted far and above expected numbers for obvious reasons. When the majority of your populace is told to stay home. What else are they going to do? Brands that have been around for decades have gone out of business because they didn’t change to an online format either. Keep moving forward.
Now as a side note here, as someone who falls only just outside the Gen Z zone the articles description of fickle is pompous. The stories I’ve heard of baby boomers getting waiters fired, or boycotting stores because of a certain shopkeeper are just as fickle and pointed. Nothing has changed in the people, just how they interact with the world. Trying to single out a single generation based on how the world has changed is a shallow view of the world.
Chasing Clubhouse success? How the audio chat room trend affects products
(BUSINESS NEWS) It is inevitable that when a new successful trend comes along, other companies will try to make lightning strike twice. Will the audio chat room catch on?
Businesses are always about the hot new thing. People are the always looking for the easiest dollar with the least amount of effort these days. It tends to lead to products that are shoddy and horribly maintained with the least amount of flexibility in pleasing their customers. However, you also have to look at the customer base for this as well. You follow where the money is because that’s where its being spent. It’s like a merry-go-round, constantly chasing the next thing. And the latest of these is the audio chat room.
During the pandemic the entire world saw an eruption of social audio investments. Silicon Valley has gone crazy with this new endeavor. On the 18th of April this year, Clubhouse said it closed on some new funding, which was valued at $4 billion for a live audio app. This thing is still in beta without a single penny of revenue!
The list of other companies who have pursued new audio suites (either through purchase or creation) include:
This whole new audio fad is still in its infancy. These social media and tech giants are all jumping headlong into it with who knows how much forethought. A number of them have their own issues to deal with, but they’ve put things aside to try and grab these audio chat room coattails that are running by. It’s a mix of feelings about the situation honestly. They are trying to survive and keep their customers.
If a competitor creates this new capability and they stay stagnant then they lose customers. If they do this however without dealing with their current issues then they could also lose people. It’s an interesting catch 22 for people out there. Which group do you fall in? Are you antsy for a new toy or are you waiting for one of these lovely sites to fix a problem? It’s another day in capitalism.
This web platform for cannabis is blowing up online distribution
(BUSINESS NEWS) Dutchie, a website platform for cannabis companies, just octupled in value. Here’s what that means for the online growth of cannabis distribution.
The cannabis industry has, for the most part, blossomed in the past few years, managing to hit only a few major snags along the way. One of those snags is the issue of payment processing, an issue compounded by predominantly cash-only transactions. Dutchie, a Bend, Oregon company, has helped mitigate that issue—and it just raised a ton of money.
Technically, Dutchie is a jack-of-all-trades service that creates and hosts websites for dispensaries, tracks product, processes orders, keeps stock of revenue, and so much more. While it was valued at around $200 million as recently as summer of 2020, a round of series C funding currently puts the company at around $1.7 billion—approximately 8 times its worth a mere 8 months ago.
There are a few reasons behind Dutchie’s newfound momentum. For starters, the pandemic made cannabis products a lot more accessible—and desirable—in states in which the sale of cannabis is legal. The ensuing surge of customers and demand certainly didn’t hurt the platform, especially given that Dutchie is largely responsible for keeping things on track during some of the more chaotic months for dispensaries.
Several states in which the sale of cannabis was illegal also voted to legalize recreational use, giving Dutchie even more stomping ground than they had prior to the lockdown.
Dutchie also recently took on 2 separate companies and their associated employees, effectively doubling their current staff. The companies are Greenbits—a resource planning group—and Leaflogix, which is a point-of-sale platform. With these two additions to their compendium, Dutchie can operate as even more of an all-in-one suite, which absolutely contributes to its value as a company.
Ross Lipson, who is Dutchie’s co-founder and current CEO, is fairly dismissive of investment opportunities for the public at the moment, saying he instead prefers to stay “focused with what’s on our plate” for the time being. However, he also appears open to the possibility of going public via an acquisition company.
“We look at how this decision brings value to the dispensary and the customer,” says Lipson. “If it brings value, we’d embark on that decision.”
For now, Dutchie remains the ipso facto king of cannabis distribution and sales—and they don’t show any plans to slow down any time soon.
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