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April 17, 2024

S2E19 - Leveraging Social Media & Tech for Restaurant Success with David Ciancio

Rev Ciancio, co-founder of Handcraft Burgers and Brew, shares valuable insights and marketing tips for restaurateurs.

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Logo blanc WISK-> All episodes <-

April 17, 2024

S2E19 - Leveraging Social Media & Tech for Restaurant Success with David Ciancio

Rev Ciancio, co-founder of Handcraft Burgers and Brew, shares valuable insights and marketing tips for restaurateurs.

Lien vers le lecteur Podcast d'AppleLien vers le lecteur Podcast de SpotifyLien vers le lecteur Google Podcasts

Notes du spectacle

Episode Notes

In this episode, Rev Ciancio, co-founder of Handcraft Burgers and Brew and head of revenue marketing for Branded Hospitality Ventures, shares his journey in the hospitality industry and provides valuable marketing tips for restaurateurs. He discusses the importance of content creation and leveraging social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Rev also emphasizes the significance of collecting emails and using SMS marketing to engage with customers. Additionally, he highlights the upcoming Restaurant Growth Summit and his other ventures, including a children's book. Overall, Rev's insights and anecdotes provide valuable lessons for those in the restaurant industry.


  • Content creation is a powerful tool for marketing in the hospitality industry.
  • Collecting emails and leveraging social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok can help restaurants engage with customers.
  • SMS marketing is an effective way to reach and communicate with customers.
  • Playing to your strengths and focusing on what you're good at can lead to success in the restaurant industry.
  • The Restaurant Growth Summit and other industry events provide valuable opportunities for learning and networking.


00:00 Introduction and Background

02:42 From Music Business to Hospitality

06:22 The Power of Content

10:31 Lessons from Past Mistakes

14:13 Marketing Strategies for Restaurants

19:28 Collecting Emails for Restaurants

21:57 Leveraging Social Media for Restaurants

27:54 Using SMS for Restaurant Marketing

30:18 Branded Hospitality Ventures

35:31 Rev's Children's Book

40:47 Anecdotes and Case Studies

43:39 Importance of Trying and Learning

44:08 Introducing Babu: A Commission-Free Marketplace

45:33 Free Marketing Resources

46:29 Wrap-up and Next Steps


Follow Rev Ciancio on Instagram!

Connect with Rev Ciancio via Linkedin!

Learn more about Handcraft Burger and Brew!


Rev Ciancio [00:00:00]:

They are beautiful. You can consume them in 30 seconds and they take zero brain work. Okay. If it works for those two companies, it will work for yours. Okay? Manage your listings, collect emails, and send a biweekly newsletter or weekly if you can. If you do that alone, you will outperform your competition.

Angelo Esposito [00:00:19]:

Welcome to Wisking It All with your host, Angelo Esposito, cofounder of WISK.ai, a food and beverage intelligence platform. We're going to be interviewing hospitality professionals around the world to really understand how they do what they do. Welcome to another episode of Wisking It All. We're here today with Rev Ciancio, co founder and CMO of Handcraft Burgers and brew and head of revenue marketing for branded hospitality ventures. Rev, thank you for being here today. Thank you.

Rev Ciancio [00:00:51]:

I'm super excited. And thank you for everybody who's listening. It's an honor.

Angelo Esposito [00:00:54]:

It's great to have you here. As always. We like to start off the show with what you do. So obviously I know a little, but can you just tell people a bit about handcraft burgers and brew to start? And then we'll jump more into branded hospitality ventures in a little bit. But love to hear quick background on what it is that you do.

Rev Ciancio [00:01:10]:

Handcraft Burgers and Brew is a smashburger concept located in Bryant Park, New York. We serve certified Angus beef, fresh, never frozen, smash style burgers. We also do fresh cut french fries, which a lot of people don't do anymore. We have deep fried hot dogs. We call those rippers spicy chicken sandwiches. There's one salad on the menu and then craft beer. So it's pretty cool. We opened it just over two years ago and this is a crazy thing to me, but we got named one of the 20 outstanding operators of the year by food on demand, which for context of people who've not seen that list, we shared that list this year with Chipotle, Papa John's, sweet Green, and a bunch of other restaurants.

Angelo Esposito [00:01:47]:


Rev Ciancio [00:01:48]:

Way out of our league in terms of.

Angelo Esposito [00:01:52]:

That's amazing. Congrats to that. That's really cool.

Rev Ciancio [00:01:55]:

I still think it was a mistake, but we're grateful.

Angelo Esposito [00:01:58]:

Hey, you'll take it. That's awesome. And that sounds delicious. I would like to understand the story behind what got you where you are today. So I find it interesting how people ended up in know. I was actually chatting with Chip. Chip Klose. And we're talking about how people usually get to hospitality through the side.

Angelo Esposito [00:02:16]:

Exactly. You know, the side door, the back door. So I love to like, were you always a hospitality guy, or how did you kind of end up in this world?

Rev Ciancio [00:02:24]:

It's an interesting question. So I'm a serial agency owner, and I used to be in the music business. And when I started the music business, I wrote a column for a local magazine reviewing records and going to shows and talking about live shows. And I got sick of writing about work, so I wanted to write about something else because I just enjoy the art of writing. And so I started doing food reviews.

Angelo Esposito [00:02:48]:


Rev Ciancio [00:02:49]:

And in 2008, I launched a website called Burgerconquest.com, where I would go and review hamburgers. And eventually, over time, every year, I developed that website. And developed and developed. But I became one of the top three hamburger bloggers in the world. That's a thing. And I started. One out of every ten posts or something was more about what restaurants could do with their marketing. Restaurants started calling me and being like, hey, you know the thing that you do in the music business? Because I managed bands, right? They were like, oh, could you help us deal with a restaurant? I was like, I don't know.

Rev Ciancio [00:03:23]:

I know how to use Instagram. Let's go try it. And so the agency life kind of chose me in that regard. But in 2010, me and a couple of buddies lived out a lifelong dream to own a bar. And so we opened a bar, but it was kind of like the music industry bar. So it was kind of like mixing both words, and then that's cool. When I eventually decided to leave the music business, I was like, I am so enthralled and in love with the hospitality business. And that was kind of it.

Angelo Esposito [00:03:51]:

Wow, that's really cool. And I'm just thinking about the power of content and how you were top three hamburger reviewers. It almost reminds me of, what is it? Dave Portnoy with his pizza review or one bite or whatever, and sounds like you were doing that for a while. So what kind of got you into the content game? Because that's a theme I always like, and I've only been doing it the last two plus years. And part of it was inspiration from other people in the industry. But I'd love to hear from you what kind of gave you that courage to just be like, hey, I'm going to just start reviewing hamburgers. I'm going to post online.

Rev Ciancio [00:04:30]:

Well, if you're asking about what got me in the content game, yeah, I would have to go back to. It would have been, when do I graduate college? Whatever. My senior year of high school, let's put it that I was obsessed with hip hop. And at the time I'm a little bit old, the only place to get hip hop was UMTV raps, or if you could find a local station that played it. Otherwise, it just wasn't a thing other than, like, DJ Yazzy Jeff and the fresh, who I also like and respect. Yeah, but there was an underground hip hop show at WDET out of Detroit that on Fridays from 530 to seven, played underground hip hop. And I loved underground hip hop, and it was at the same time as my commute home from my job. And so every Friday, as soon as I get home, I'd call the hotline, I'd request songs and just be very honest and frank about what happened.

Rev Ciancio [00:05:25]:

Sean P. Who was the host of that show one day, was like, you don't sound like you're from the hood. And I was like, quite the opposite. I'm from the burbs. And he's like, you also don't sound like you're african american. And I said, I'm very caucasian. Different words. And he's like, you're really into hip hop.

Rev Ciancio [00:05:42]:

I was. He goes, you know, we're always curious to know what's happening in the suburbs with hip hop. Would you like to be on the show every week as a correspondent to give the quote unquote white boy report? So I would call in every Friday and be like, okay, here's what the white kids are listening to in the suburbs. And that was probably the first quote unquote content I was ever involved with.

Angelo Esposito [00:06:03]:


Rev Ciancio [00:06:03]:

And I loved it. And I went to college, and I wanted to be a radio dj, and I actually studied telecommunications, and I ended up becoming the program director of our college radio station. I got all the way to commercial radio and was a commercial radio dj and a morning show dj, and I realized I hated it.

Angelo Esposito [00:06:19]:

Oh, okay. Plot twist.

Rev Ciancio [00:06:21]:


Angelo Esposito [00:06:22]:

At what point did you realize you hated it?

Rev Ciancio [00:06:24]:

The fourth Saturday night in a row when I was working the midnight to 06:00 a.m. Shift at the alternative commercial radio station, their studio was what we called a fish bowl. So it had one giant window, and that window faced all of the bars in East Lansing, Michigan. So I'd see all my friends going into the bar, and I'd see all of them coming out, and then I'd still have four more hours of playing nirvana for $9 an hour. And I was like, this sucks. I don't want to do it. But that was my first content, was actually being a radio dj. And I loved being a radio dj.

Angelo Esposito [00:06:59]:

That's so cool. So how'd you go from that? I'd love to hear the story. So radio dj music world, right? Hip hop influence. Obviously you mentioned a bit of that. I guess the bar side. Was that the next step? Is it that you opened the bar to kind of bridge the music? How'd you jump to hospitality?

Rev Ciancio [00:07:17]:

I'll speed the timeline up, but essentially I graduated college. I moved to New York City to be in the music business. I started working for an independent agency that helped underground college, metal, punk rock, hardcore, emo bands basically break. A year and a half later, that company shut down. Me and some friends started a very similar company. I ran that for years. We were ridiculously successful. I parted away with my partner, started something under Warner Music Group doing something similar, long story short, that fell apart.

Rev Ciancio [00:07:49]:

But I'd started the bar at that point. And when that opportunity came to a close, I was like, look, I don't want to work in the music business anymore. I really enjoy Hospitality. I enjoy the plight of the independent. Like, I've always loved hospitality. I'm obsessed with food. I'm going to go figure out how I can take marketing agency tech and hospitality and where can I ball that together? So that was like 2011.

Angelo Esposito [00:08:17]:


Rev Ciancio [00:08:19]:

And like I said, at that point, I had the bar. And so from there, the timelines have just converged. I got further and further away from music, and here we are now.

Angelo Esposito [00:08:27]:

That's awesome. And when you describe the concept behind handcraft burgers and brew, but what made you open that type of place? Right? It sounds like you have a ton of experience. Hip hop, background, radio dj music. And then what made you say, hey, I want to open a handcraft burger and brew joint versus any other joint? Right?

Rev Ciancio [00:08:44]:

So that's a fun question because I never wanted to own a restaurant or bar again. Like I said, I owned a bar. We sold it for an incredible loss in 2016. It is now 2024, eight years later, and I'm still paying off the debt. Like, it was a disaster.

Angelo Esposito [00:09:01]:


Rev Ciancio [00:09:02]:

It was the disaster of disasters. And I said, I will never, ever do this again. I'm not a good operator. It's not that I don't love that life. I just know I'm bad at it. Well, about two and a half years ago, my partners in handcraft burgers and brew own a bunch of other gastro pubs that are really successful. And they called me and they were my clients at the time for consulting and said, hey, we're going to launch a QSR. Can we hire you to do marketing? I was like, well, that is what I do.

Rev Ciancio [00:09:28]:

So I said, yeah. They're like, no, but we don't want to touch marketing. Like, you are fully in charge. We don't want you consult, we want you to do. And I said, okay, that's a different scope. Here's my proposal. And they called me and said, yeah, we can't afford this. Would you want equity? And I said, not a freaking chance.

Rev Ciancio [00:09:45]:

Somebody else, I don't want that already. Long story short, they asked me why I gave them all the objections. They removed them from my contract, and they said, how about now? And at that point, I was like, so all I have to worry about is marketing? Yeah, that sounds like a fun game. And I said, yes. So I had nothing to do with the concept. I had nothing to do with the menu. I had nothing to do with the branding. I had nothing to do with the logo, nothing.

Rev Ciancio [00:10:10]:

I got handed the business 45 days before we opened.

Angelo Esposito [00:10:15]:

Wow, that's kind of super interesting. And so we have a lot of restaurant listeners in our newsletter. I think we have, like, over 20,000 restaurant tours that subscribe. And so we love giving them a bunch of nuggets and wisdom and lessons. So, I mean, first thing first I got to ask is eight years later and his head is still paying off. So I find sometimes there's good lessons from mistakes made. Can you highlight any of the mistakes you made just to share with the audience?

Rev Ciancio [00:10:40]:

I like to tell people, some people get an MBA, like a formal education, doctorate. I got what I call a street MBA. I learned the same amount of stuff, and I paid the same amount of money. I just don't have thing to put on the wall.

Angelo Esposito [00:10:57]:

That's a good way of putting it.

Rev Ciancio [00:10:59]:

When we lost the bar in 2016, I couldn't tell you how many phone calls we got from everybody, including tons of operators. Like, you did what? Yeah, we sold it at a loss. How is that possible? We were on every best of list in the city. We were press darlings. Place was packed all the time. In 20, 14, 15. We had, like, 15,000 people on our email list. It was a dive bar.

Rev Ciancio [00:11:28]:

We had a four point something on Google and Yelp. We had thousands of followers on social media. Like, there are restaurants in 2024 that don't have that. You know what I mean? And people would say to us, like, how the hell did you lose the bar?

Angelo Esposito [00:11:42]:


Rev Ciancio [00:11:42]:

And I would tell them the truth. We had a bad partnership. Our other operators screwed us. Yada, yada, yada. And then I realized something really important. We were actually great marketers. We were great branders. And we really knew because the three of us came from the music business.

Rev Ciancio [00:11:57]:

And we approached the bar like it was a brand. We didn't approach it like it was a product or had products or a service model. We looked at it as a brand and we developed it like a brand. And other bars and restaurants started to call me and saying, can you help me with my bar and restaurant? And I realized I learned an important skill. I learned how to develop a hospitality business from a brand aspect with no budget and using digital marketing. And in 2015, that was practically revolutionary. You know what I mean? And so I was like, I'm digging in. I have a skill set that's missing in this industry.

Rev Ciancio [00:12:34]:

I'm going to go help every restaurant and bar I possibly can.

Angelo Esposito [00:12:37]:

Wow, that's super fascinating. And I think that there's a little lesson there, which is sometimes don't only focus on the things you're not good at, but double down on the things you are good at. Right.

Rev Ciancio [00:12:50]:

You will see an article coming out for me soon. My life motto is be awesome at two things and outsource everything else. And as soon as you're too good at one of them or you don't care anymore, let it go and learn a new and research, make number two number one and get a new number two.

Angelo Esposito [00:13:05]:

That's awesome. That is good feedback. It's funny. I did this exercise not too long ago. I was actually making a list of the things that kind of take energy from me and the things that give me energy. And then I was adding dollar signs to them, like, which ones are like high value, low value. And then it was funny because then as I was doing this exercise, I'm like, man, there's certain things that I really like and are high value, certain things I just like and are not. And you start realizing you're never going to be good at everything.

Angelo Esposito [00:13:30]:

So to your point is like, how do you step one? Just recognize that so you can fill those gaps, right? Some people will break their heads and say, okay, I'm not good at, I don't know, Excel. Let me try to become an excel expert. When the answer is really like, if you're not going to excel, just find someone who's good at excel to help you with that part.

Rev Ciancio [00:13:45]:

Perfect example from the music business. Sorry, from the restaurant business. And again, I'm a marketer. I have a marketer's perspective. But when independent restaurant owners say to me, I got to be better at social media, you're going to continue to say that for the next ten years, don't know. You need to be better at hiring somebody to do it for you and communicating the values of your brand so you could go back to running the business.

Angelo Esposito [00:14:10]:

That makes sense. That makes sense. So for restaurants or is listening, what would you say is some of the ways they can maybe take advantage of marketing efforts? And I know there's probably a million and one things. Marketing is a pretty big umbrella, but maybe from your industry experience, are there a couple of nuggets or things you typically see? You go into a venue, you're like, look, day one, these are a couple of things you can start doing right away just to maybe share some wisdom.

Rev Ciancio [00:14:35]:

Okay. First of all, thank you for asking. Tactical questions are my favorite. Okay. Because everybody's trying to figure out the how to. I got the how to's. I'm happy to share them.

Angelo Esposito [00:14:44]:


Rev Ciancio [00:14:44]:

Number one, let's start by changing our thinking. Nobody follows a restaurant on Instagram unless they have eaten there or they plan to eat there, which means followers are actually guests. Which means that organic social media is a retention channel, not an acquisition channel. And so restaurants need to create content that speaks to guests, not to new acquisition. And yes, people who have heard about a restaurant might look at the Instagram before they go there, but they're looking to go there to find out what is the experience. And so if your content talks to guests, it will make that person understand what it's like to be a guest. So, myth number one, organic social media will get me new customers. It will not.

Rev Ciancio [00:15:32]:

It is a retention channel. Approach it as such also, because the algorithm shows your content to nobody. It's a shitty retention channel because you got to pay for it to work. Okay? So now that we've reset that, here are two things that every restaurant should do that are scalable, affordable, and will drive both a rainfall or, sorry, will drive both a waterfall of new guests and retained guests. Number 167 percent of your guests. And the traffic to your website should be coming from something that starts with a big g and ends with Google.

Angelo Esposito [00:16:11]:


Rev Ciancio [00:16:12]:

And if you have not prioritized coming up at the top of near me searches on Google, you're doing it all wrong. And optimizing for near me searches on Google is ridiculously easy. It's ridiculously easy. Step number one, get a listings management tool. We use marquee at my restaurant. I don't recommend any other tool. They're the best in the business. But go get a listings management tool.

Rev Ciancio [00:16:35]:

Put your menu in there, your photos, your hours, of operation, everything that's cool about your business into marquee or whatever listings provider use. And make sure that information is the same on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Siri, Apple Maps, Alexa, Tripadvisor. Can you tell I've said this before? I love that when you do that, you will be optimized for near me searches. Okay, that is simple. Use the software. It'll cost you $100 or less a month and boom, you're optimized for local search.

Angelo Esposito [00:17:03]:

Love that.

Rev Ciancio [00:17:04]:

Oh my God. Wait, marketing works in the background and I don't have to do anything? Yes, that is like the restaurant's dream. And it's like, yes, just turn on a listing to manage provider number one.

Angelo Esposito [00:17:15]:

Number one.

Rev Ciancio [00:17:16]:

That will drive you more guests in a scalable, easy, affordable way. Now let's take the other side of the coin. How do you get those guests that you've spent money to get through the door to come back? Acquisition costs dollars. Retention costs pennies. Here's what you do. Collect every single person's email address you possibly can. And this works if you're McDonald's or the local pizza shop. This works for all brands.

Rev Ciancio [00:17:42]:

And send out at least a newsletter every other don't restaurants get in their head like, oh, I've even seen major brands we don't know what to put in email. Go subscribe to Red Robin and go subscribe to the Capital Grill. Every single email they send is exactly the same logo, a couple of key buttons, a hero image, a menu, two sentence description and order. Now they are beautiful. You can consume them in 30 seconds and they take zero brain work. Okay, if it works for those two companies, it will work for yours. Manage your listings, collect emails and send a biweekly newsletter or weekly if you can. If you do that alone, you will outperform your competition.

Angelo Esposito [00:18:26]:

I love that. And I'm a big fan of getting tactical too, because that's one of the things I love when I listen to podcasts is getting actual information that I can act on. And so definitely I want to dive a little deeper. So great advice on the collecting emails. What are some ways, again, I'm not asking you to give away all your secrets here, but what are some ways you would maybe encourage or inspire restauranteurs to collect emails?

Rev Ciancio [00:18:50]:

By the way, I have no secrets. I will share everything with everybody because I'm 100% confident nobody will do it as good as we do. So that's fine. I'm happy to share it.

Angelo Esposito [00:18:59]:

I love that.

Rev Ciancio [00:19:00]:

The fastest, easiest, simplest, best, most scalable way to add emails to your database other than take online orders or reservations. Restaurants already do that. This is the one to add. Okay. 31% of the emails in my database for my restaurant were done this way and it cost me $19 a month. That's peanuts. Okay.

Angelo Esposito [00:19:22]:


Rev Ciancio [00:19:22]:

Something free. Gated wifi. Every single person that walks into your restaurant that is willing to be marketed to is happy to join your wifi. And if you make sure they have to give you their email address to get to it, you will grow your database. We on average at the burger shop add ten people a day to our database.

Angelo Esposito [00:19:46]:


Rev Ciancio [00:19:47]:

Okay, now here's the thing. Most people that walk into a restaurant are an unknown. They walk in off the street, they either go to the Mater dean and get sat at the table or they go to the bar. They order from the cash register and there's no exchange of data there, right? Or let's say that we go to a restaurant and there's four of us and I make the reservation. I'm the known, but you and the other two people aren't. How do I get your wifi? I'm telling you, there's a company called Vivaspot, there's lots of companies you can use. I use Vivaspot because a, it's $19 a month, b, it works and c, and I can't believe this is the case, they're the only gated wifi provider for restaurants that has a direct integration into mailchimp. And if I can automate a process I will.

Angelo Esposito [00:20:31]:

I'm a fan of automation too. Okay, that's awesome to hear because yeah, I know there's solutions out there, but it's always good to get tactical because that's the other battle sometimes. And for people listening, do your research. Feel free to find a tool. But when there's a tool recommended by someone using it, that's always helpful because it does take a lot of time to find the right tools. Right? It's like.

Rev Ciancio [00:20:50]:

If you're a full service restaurant, you take reservations, great, you have a reservation system. That's an awesome way to add emails. If you're a QSR, a fast casual online ordering app, ordering, again, same thing. But if you're like a bar, nobody has to make reservation at a bar, nobody orders online. They just walk up to like, man, that's like a business full of unknowns. For sure I would get wifi there because that's the other thing too is people sit in a bar longer and at some point they're going to get on their phone, and they want to get on Snapchat or Instagram or TikTok, or they want to free gated wifi man, $19 through Beavis spot.

Angelo Esposito [00:21:26]:

Amazing feedback. People listening, I think, are already going to be googling these tools. We have the listing tool you mentioned. This is awesome.

Rev Ciancio [00:21:33]:

I can give you one more tool that I think is unbelievable.

Angelo Esposito [00:21:35]:

Please do.

Rev Ciancio [00:21:36]:

There's this brand new jump on this because nobody's on this yet. It's called Guru club, okay? And what guru club does is it gets you word of mouth from your current guests by turning every single guest into a social media influencer. Here's how it works. Me, Rev, who actually is an influencer, let's say it's not me, it's somebody else. It's my friend Amy, who's not an influencer, walks into your restaurant and has ordered food, and she takes a picture of the food, which everybody does. Now, there's a little sign there that says, tag us on Instagram for $5 off your next order. Okay? Now, if Amy takes a picture of her food and puts it up on her Instagram and tags your account, she's now shared it with all of her followers. Okay.

Rev Ciancio [00:22:29]:

Oh, my God, I love this burger. Three and a half seconds later, Instagram dms her and sends her a coupon for $5 off her order. Now, if she's already ordered and it's a quick serve restaurant, she can use it on the next order. But let's say it's a fine dining restaurant where it's kind of hard to do all that stuff. You could have your server go over and go, hey, hint, guys, if you take a picture of that amazing steak I just put in front of you or that hem of the woods or whatever amazing pasta dish, like, hey, you guys want me to do the cheese pull for you? By the way, get your cameras out. Tag us on social. You can get $5 off this meal while you're here. Every single person at that table is going to take out their phone, take a picture of the pasta pole, and all of a sudden, five people who are in the restaurant right there just promoted you to all their friends, and all you had to do was give them $5.

Rev Ciancio [00:23:18]:

You'll do it all day long, man. Guru club, it's the only influencer technology I've seen out there that is easy to use and works.

Angelo Esposito [00:23:28]:

I love that. I love that. Because you often see restauranters. I'm more focused always on the back of house. So really WISK. We help with cost of goods sold and all that. But one of the main complaints, yeah, super important. But one of the main complaints I was hear from restaurants is if we only had more people come through the door, if we only had more traffic, like everything else, perfect.

Angelo Esposito [00:23:50]:

Which often it's not perfect when we see the numbers in the PNL, but they always assume everything's perfect except it's just getting more traffic in the door. And so I love what you're saying. What about when it comes to what are maybe some other tactics? And I'm thinking maybe on social. So you mentioned you touched a bit on, okay, retention. But when it comes to social, what platforms do you typically recommend people are on and what type of content? Because I feel sometimes from my conversations with restauranteurs, they lack maybe the ideas of what should I post? Is your solution just finding someone to do it for you? Or do you have any thoughts that you can share of how maybe they know, to quote your buddy Shawn Walchef, how they can become the show, not the commercial, but any kind of words of wisdom around that?

Rev Ciancio [00:24:37]:

Well, don't do what I do because I will make it look harder. I don't know if you're following along at handcraft, bergs and brew. We just hired one of Santa's elves to work for us.

Angelo Esposito [00:24:48]:

I didn't see that.

Rev Ciancio [00:24:49]:

We have a content series of all the things that happened when we hired one of Santa's elves.

Angelo Esposito [00:24:52]:

That's awesome.

Rev Ciancio [00:24:53]:

I'm going to make it look a lot harder. So don't do what I do or inspire to do what I do. But look, first of all, you're right. If you don't have the skill set and you're not going to learn the skill set and it doesn't make sense for you. Learn the skill set, get somebody else. Like 100% get somebody else who's really good. For sure, get somebody else. But I think it's good to understand it so that you can give direction.

Angelo Esposito [00:25:14]:


Rev Ciancio [00:25:15]:

And so even if you're not going to do it, you kind of have to understand some of the mechanics so you can be better at giving direction to the person that's going to do it. So I'm a fan of that. But that being said, restaurants, TikTok, man, it's awesome. But it's really hard. And because it's really hard, Instagram. So I would tell all restaurants, until you have a solid, consistent flow of content on Instagram, do not prioritize any other network. Right. Interesting, because here's the thing.

Rev Ciancio [00:25:42]:

I taught a class on TikTok that TikTok actually wrote the curriculum, and I wrote the book, TikTok for restaurants. I understand it. Here's the thing. Nobody realizes about TikTok, but you need to realize, and they want you to understand, TikTok is not social media. It is not a social media, okay? It's entertainment. TikTok's competitors are YouTube and Netflix, not Facebook and Instagram.

Angelo Esposito [00:26:11]:


Rev Ciancio [00:26:12]:

So if you are trying to create content for TikTok, and, okay, it will work if you optimize for TikTok and move it to Instagram. But if you've created, you can't make Instagram content on TikTok. And again, because TikTok is harder, I tell restaurants, when you can be consistent with three to four in feed posts a week on Instagram and three to four stories per week with stickers and calls to action, when you can be consistent about that, then maybe you can consider TikTok.

Angelo Esposito [00:26:42]:

That's good. That's a good way of putting it. It's funny you mentioned it, because now I think back, I'm like, yeah, my TikTok does kind of suck. And it's like I'm literally doing what you said not to do, which is basically just posting my Instagram stuff on TikTok. But I love what you said, because now it sounds so obvious that you said it, but it's true. TikTok is way more entertainment and probably means different forms of video, different styles of video. And, yeah, for people listening, that's a good nugget, is start with Instagram, post three, four times a week, get good at that one channel. And then almost as a graduation, you move on to TikTok.

Angelo Esposito [00:27:16]:

Once you can say you've been consistent. Let me ask you, what do you consider consistent? So three, four times a week for how long before you're like, all right, you have earned the badge of TikTok now.

Rev Ciancio [00:27:26]:

I mean, I think that's at the discretion of the content creator, the manager, and the owner. Like, if you're like, hey, I got time, my day, and we're not achieving, we want to do. We want to look at this other channel. Great. Yeah, try out TikTok. I still would prioritize listings management, Google search ads, gated Wi Fi, email, and SMS before I would prioritize organic content and social.

Angelo Esposito [00:27:47]:

Love that. And so you touched on the other four, but maybe to touch on the last one, because you just mentioned SMS as number five. Can you chat a bit about that? How you leverage SMS, or how restaurants can leverage SMS?

Rev Ciancio [00:27:58]:

Sure. So SMS is a great way to drive retention, it just has to be used the right way. And what people need to realize is that SMS is really good when it's tied to an air quotes event. Okay? And an event could be an actual event. Like, hey, we're having a new year's Eve party. Buy your ticket now. That's an event. But also buy one, get one free burrito.

Rev Ciancio [00:28:21]:

Today only is an event, right? Or, hey, we have a new seasonal menu. That's an event. Anything that has, like, a timely expiration is good for SMS, because you're basically asking somebody to take an immediate action. Because SMS, man, if I text you now, you don't see it for, like, a day or whatever you see, you don't take action. It's gone in, like, an hour. You know what I mean? The half life of a text is like, it's nothing. So you have to make sure that when you're using SMS, it has to be instantly actionable. Now, it could also be, hey, we're giving away free whatever on our Instagram account.

Rev Ciancio [00:28:56]:

Click here. Like, that's an event. It has a timely expiration.

Angelo Esposito [00:29:00]:

Got it. That's actually some really good context. And because I got to ask this, because you gave some good tool recommendations, at the end of the day, the tool isn't everything. But do you have a tool that you recommend for the SMS side?

Rev Ciancio [00:29:13]:

100% ovation. And I wouldn't use. People ask me, who do you use for SMS? I was like, I wouldn't even consider anybody, but ovation.

Angelo Esposito [00:29:19]:

Yeah, we just had Zach on the show. He's awesome, dude. Yeah, great guy. Okay, that makes sense. I didn't even put two and two together because I'm like, yeah, they get feedback and all this, but. Okay, that makes sense. They do SMS marketing.

Rev Ciancio [00:29:30]:

It's the feedback thing first.

Angelo Esposito [00:29:32]:


Rev Ciancio [00:29:33]:

SMS thing later. And we use ovation for lots of things. And SMS is probably in the bottom of the top ten things we do with it.

Angelo Esposito [00:29:40]:

Okay. Wow. Okay. This is great. This is awesome. So, guys, you heard it there. Five actionable things with suggested tools you can even use. So that's awesome.

Angelo Esposito [00:29:48]:

And then just kind of maybe changing gears. I know we chatted a bit about handcraft burgers and brew, but I know you're also head of revenue marketing for branded hospitality ventures. So shifting gears for the people that don't know, maybe just chat a little bit about what is branded hospitality ventures.

Rev Ciancio [00:30:04]:

Sure. So, Brandon, those are my partners, and we essentially are a hospitality acceleration firm. The majority of what branded does as a company is invest into hospitality tech solutions that are proven to help operators. I think we have 44 investments. We just had our third exit literally last week.

Angelo Esposito [00:30:26]:


Rev Ciancio [00:30:27]:

But we find pre series a, series a seed level hospitality solutions that actually are helpful and we give them money.

Angelo Esposito [00:30:35]:

That's awesome.

Rev Ciancio [00:30:36]:

But we also have a suite of services around that, which I'm the head of one of them. And we help those hospitality solutions providers to accelerate something. Could be sales, could be go to market, could be strategy, could be marketing, could be whatever. But we have acceleration type scenarios. Me particular, I oversee revenue marketing and so I help hospitality tech solutions with what I call cmo stuff. I'm a former tech cmO. That's my highest skill set. So if you need help with demand generation content marketing, funnel acceleration, sales go to market.

Rev Ciancio [00:31:12]:

I deliver highly tactical solutions for helping restaurants as a solutions provider.

Angelo Esposito [00:31:20]:

That's awesome. Okay, we'll definitely have to talk. I mean, on a side note, I got to pick your brain for WISK. That sounds super up our alley of what we're looking for. We'll definitely talk.

Rev Ciancio [00:31:30]:

But I have two types of clients there. So half of my clients have the same type of clients that Brandon invest into.

Angelo Esposito [00:31:37]:


Rev Ciancio [00:31:37]:

And you don't have to be a branded investment to work with me at all. My island is separate but equal. We have a bridge. I also help restaurants with their marketing. So I have lots of clients who are restaurants and I help them with marketing strategy and marketing tactics and marketing creatives. So I help solutions providers. I help marketers restaurants as well.

Angelo Esposito [00:31:58]:

Okay, well that's awesome. Well, on the personal side, I'm reaching out. We're going to chat because I definitely got to pick your brain about WISK. But on the restaurant side, for people listening, how do they get in touch with you? So maybe a quick plug if they're interested. They're like, hey, this guy sounds like he knows what he's talking about. He already gave me five awesome tips. I want to chat with Rev. How do I reach Rev?

Rev Ciancio [00:32:16]:

You could go to any social media or entertainment channel, like YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, Instagram. I have almost 800,000 followers across all of those. So just pick one.

Angelo Esposito [00:32:26]:

I'm under Rev.

Rev Ciancio [00:32:26]:

Secret. I read all my dms. That's probably an easiest way. Your preferred one. I'm most active on Instagram and LinkedIn, but any of these ways work. I'm rarely at the hamburger shop, so thinking you're going to run into me there is not the best.

Angelo Esposito [00:32:40]:

Awesome. And for those listening, Rev CNSo C-I-A-N-C-I-O just so for people listening to the podcast, they can easily type it out.

Rev Ciancio [00:32:52]:

The other thing, I don't know when this show is going to go live or when the content will be shared, but on January 31 and February 1, I've teamed up with the digital Restaurant association and branded, and we are hosting a free online restaurant marketing summit where I have almost 30 speakers who are going to share content similar like this. Not strategies, but tactics. Here's how you get more loyalty sign ups. Here's how you come up higher and search. Here's how to respond to reviews. Here's how to choose technology. In fact, we have an entire live hour where people can show up and ask restaurant marketing questions.

Angelo Esposito [00:33:26]:

That's awesome.

Rev Ciancio [00:33:27]:

It's the Drastron marketing summit. Powered by branded, it's restaurantsgrow.com summit. S-U-M-M-I-T. It's 100% free. I go to twelve or 13 conferences a year, and I realize two really important things. Number one, when people, when thought leaders get on stage at conferences, they don't share tactics, they share strategies. They go, your restaurant has to have loyalty, not. Here's how to get more loyalty sign ups.

Angelo Esposito [00:33:54]:


Rev Ciancio [00:33:54]:

So marketers are looking for tactics, and they're not getting it. Also, here's the other thing I noticed. The people that need the tactics are the people that actually do the marketing for the restaurants. And those people don't get sent to the conferences, the CMO does or the CEO. So not only are these people lacking in tactics, there's no resource for restaurant marketers to learn how to market better. That's why we created this. It is literally 48 hours free of more content than you could possibly consume on how to be better at your job. Because it's a virtual summit, the content will stay live in the summit for 90 days after the event.

Rev Ciancio [00:34:30]:

So if somebody's hearing this and it's 90 days after February 1, I'm bad at math. That sounds like April something.

Angelo Esposito [00:34:35]:

May 1.

Rev Ciancio [00:34:38]:

For $97, you could buy a vip pass that gets you 24/7 access to not only all of the content, but all of the content from the last three summits. Is the fourth time we've done this.

Angelo Esposito [00:34:50]:

Wow. Okay.

Rev Ciancio [00:34:51]:

You have 90 days to consume. Like I said, the TikTok class I talked last summer, that's in there. There's more marketing content than you could ever want. So if you hear this and it's after February 7, you want it for less than $100, you can have a master class on marketing.

Angelo Esposito [00:35:05]:

That's awesome. That sounds great. So, yeah, to our restaurant tours. We'll definitely plug this, I think, in our newsletter and in our social channels, because I'm a big fan of just trying to help restaurants, period. And that's my personal inspiration behind why I started WISK. But that extends beyond just cost.

Rev Ciancio [00:35:20]:

We have the same mission.

Angelo Esposito [00:35:22]:

There you go. That's awesome, man. Okay, so, Brandon, hostile adventures. Now. I got a good sense of that. So going back to maybe, like, do.

Rev Ciancio [00:35:31]:

You want to talk about the children's book I put out last year, or is that not relevant?

Angelo Esposito [00:35:35]:

No. I love that. I had four things on my list for you. One was obviously the handcraft burgers and brew. Two was branded hospitality. Three was your ebook. I think you had a restaurant marketing ebook, if I'm not mistaken.

Rev Ciancio [00:35:53]:

I have, like, ten of them out.

Angelo Esposito [00:35:54]:

Oh, you have ten now? Okay. But I didn't know about the children's book. Tell me about this book. I didn't have that on my list of questions, so I got to hear it.

Rev Ciancio [00:36:02]:

Last year, my cousin and I co published the super funny dinosaur activity book for kids.

Angelo Esposito [00:36:07]:

That's awesome.

Rev Ciancio [00:36:08]:

And it's 100 pages of puzzles, dot to dots, games, jokes, stories, coloring, mazes, like, nonstop. I got an inkling about a year and a half ago that I really wanted to do something where I could make mailbox money. I couldn't come up with a way for it. And then I got hit with a video on TikTok that was like, do you know how easy it is to put out low content books on TikTok? And I went down the TikTok rabbit hole, and then I was like, you know what? I'm going to buy this course for $97. And a year later, me and my cousin have put out this book. It sold, I think, about 100 copies, these in eight weeks, which I'm insanely grateful for. But, I mean, look, I'm not telling people to go buy my book. If you got a kid six to ten who you're sick of hearing them say, I'm bored, or you want them off YouTube, it's $10.

Angelo Esposito [00:36:53]:

That's awesome.

Rev Ciancio [00:36:54]:

But here's the thing. This is the takeaway I want people to get from. It is within your power to accomplish anything that you set your mind to. Anything. And I wanted to come up with something new for my business that was totally out of my comfort zone, that I had no idea what I was doing. That generated a different revenue stream, and I got curious about that, and I went down a couple of rabbit holes, and I was like, you know what? I'm going to put out a kids activity book. Why? Because I'm passionate about that. I have a seven year old, and he told me before we put it live, he said, dad, I want you to tell Amazon that I said, this is awesome, and they should sell.

Rev Ciancio [00:37:32]:

So I wanted to do something cool for my kid, and I figured a way to super hack my way into building it. And lo and behold, we got an activity book.

Angelo Esposito [00:37:41]:

That's so cool.

Rev Ciancio [00:37:42]:

Anything is possible, man. You just have to dedicate yourself to doing it.

Angelo Esposito [00:37:45]:

Yeah, well said. And it's funny, at least with my immediate circle. I always say, don't be cheap when you invest in yourself. I find people will be so cheap. And it's like I'm, I guess, fortunate or lucky, but my dna, the way it works, I genuinely love to learn. I love to learn. So for me, if I see something that makes sense, it's a no brainer. I'll pay, no problem.

Angelo Esposito [00:38:07]:

If it's free, I'll consume free. I genuinely love learning, but I found it's not as common as you'd think. And people sometimes will want to learn a new skill, but they don't know where to start. And I'm like, guys, there's so much free content. There's YouTube. And even if you want to go deeper, when I got into photography as an example, as a hobby years ago, it's like, it was a no brainer. I signed up for a course, it was like $49. And it's like I learned everything I had to learn to get started.

Angelo Esposito [00:38:32]:

I find sometimes restaurant related or not, just in general, when you want to learn something, assuming you're interested. If not interested, obviously outsource it. But if there's some level of interest, don't be cheap, just invest. And the perfect example is the summit you're speaking of if restaurateurs or marketing experts in the restaurant world can benefit. It's $97, right? Like, just do it as an example. Right. But I'd love to know your take.

Rev Ciancio [00:38:55]:

It's free?

Angelo Esposito [00:38:56]:

Yeah, completely free. It's if they want the recording.

Rev Ciancio [00:38:59]:

But again, I don't know when this is going to air. If somebody saw this today. You can actually buy the vip today, and 90% of the content is already live. You could start watching it today.

Angelo Esposito [00:39:11]:

Nice, right? Because of the last three years.

Rev Ciancio [00:39:13]:

No, this year's content is live from.

Angelo Esposito [00:39:17]:

Oh, shit. Okay, that's interesting. Okay. Because. Yeah, I know. You were saying if they buy the pass, they have the 90 days and they get the other three sessions, but you're actually saying on top of that, if they buy the vip, they can actually access it now. Wow. Okay.

Rev Ciancio [00:39:29]:

And look, there's some content that's actually live during the summit. You can't get that built right anyway.

Angelo Esposito [00:39:35]:

Okay, super cool.

Rev Ciancio [00:39:36]:

But you're right. If you want to learn something, there's a low cost way to step into learning, especially with the Internet. There's every course imaginable on every possible topic. There is.

Angelo Esposito [00:39:48]:

Yeah, exactly. Which is always, for me, it's so exciting. It's like, anything you want to learn, you can learn. You want to learn, to your point, how to make children's book, you learned and you did it and you execute it, which is awesome.

Rev Ciancio [00:40:00]:

Listen, the other thing, too is I'm not a designer. I don't know how to. You kidding me? I didn't do this, but I called my cousin who's a graphic designer, and I said, listen, do you want to take your skill set? I outsourced and my skill set, which is like marketing and content, whatever, do you want to combine it? And he was like, let's do it. All right. I just needed a partner in believing.

Angelo Esposito [00:40:20]:

That's amazing. One thing I want to just touch on real quick is obviously you have a ton of interesting advice and tactics and you could tell you've done it and you've been in the field. I always love to share any anecdotes or case studies, anything that comes to mind when you think about things you've done on the marketing side, any initiatives that you just love to share, maybe something that comes to mind of, like whether it be getting more clients in, whether it be the examples you gave with the wifi. I find anecdotes are always great. So I don't know if you have any stories that come to mind of ways or a way or a client that you've helped recently.

Rev Ciancio [00:40:56]:

Am I speaking to restaurants or tech providers in this answer?

Angelo Esposito [00:41:00]:

Restaurants. But I mean, now I'm kind of curious about tech, but yeah, I was thinking restaurants got the majority of our audience, but selfishly, I kind of want to hear about tech providers.

Rev Ciancio [00:41:08]:

Listen for restaurants. First of all, no marketing idea is ever going to work if you only message it once. Okay. And you're never going to know the efforts of a marketing idea if you only do it for a little bit. I'll give you a client.

Angelo Esposito [00:41:26]:

I'll make it simple.

Rev Ciancio [00:41:27]:

I'll talk about a single unit operator.

Angelo Esposito [00:41:28]:


Rev Ciancio [00:41:28]:

Because we can all understand that I had a client who you could not get a reservation from seven to 09:00 p.m.. Tuesday through Saturday. You just couldn't. It's a small place. It's ridiculously popular. They were sold out 30 days in advance. But they started opening at 04:00. Right? And then the whole outdoor thing happened in New York City, and now we had all this excess capacity and nobody was booking that.

Rev Ciancio [00:41:55]:

We're like, we're available. It's the same menu. Like, why has it got to be seven to ten or seven to nine?

Angelo Esposito [00:42:01]:


Rev Ciancio [00:42:01]:

So we created this thing called pasta happy hour. It was their number one dish, and it was half off all pastas. Four to 06:00 p.m. Every day. And if you sit outside, it's any hour. So you could show up at 08:00.

Angelo Esposito [00:42:14]:


Rev Ciancio [00:42:14]:

And we sent out an email. We did Instagram, we built some ads. Nothing happened. Nothing happened. Nothing happened. It took 90 days, and then it just clicked. And now you also can't get a seat during pasta half. It was a good idea.

Rev Ciancio [00:42:31]:

We just had to stick with it. And you know how many emails and ads we created and trying, like, different. And should we use this image or that image? We knew it was a good idea. We had to a b test our theory till we got it right. And look, we took feedback along the way, and look, it was the number one selling item. It wasn't that the food sucked and it wasn't that the service sucked. Just, we didn't get it right, and finally we got it right. And now you can't get in this.

Rev Ciancio [00:42:59]:

They actually bought another restaurant space to handle the amount of reservations.

Angelo Esposito [00:43:05]:

Wow, what a story. That's really cool. And it's funny. And I think that the lesson there, and it's funny, I tell my team, if we fail on an initiative, I just want to be sure we failed because it failed and not because, to your point, maybe we didn't try long enough for. Maybe the copy could have been better. So it's like, I want to go all in and make sure for whatever. It could be an ebook, it could be a Facebook adage. I always say I want to fail with certainty.

Angelo Esposito [00:43:29]:

So it's like, well, Angelo, I want my team to tell me. Angelo, we tried 82 variations, and I tried seven different copies. I want to know. So if we failed, it really failed. And not like, oh, we tried YouTube ads. Didn't really work. What did you do? Yeah, we launched one this one time, and then we took it. You need more than that.

Angelo Esposito [00:43:45]:

And so I think there's a nugget there, which is like, trying, but trying doesn't mean, trying requires, I think, volume and time and then reiterating to really see. Right.

Rev Ciancio [00:43:57]:

Yeah. It's technically only a failure if you don't learn from it.

Angelo Esposito [00:44:02]:

Yeah. Well said. I love that. Okay. And so, look, to wrap things up, I know we're coming up on time, but what's next for Rev? So I know you got this conference at the end of the month, but I love for you to plug anything you want. So podcasts, your website, and just anything kind of on the horizon coming up for you.

Rev Ciancio [00:44:20]:

I feel like I did a lot of plugging.

Angelo Esposito [00:44:21]:


Rev Ciancio [00:44:22]:

So if you are a restaurant in North Jersey, you should call me ASAP. Me and two of my partners have released something called Babu B-A-B-O-O. We've been kind of quiet about it. It doesn't have a website, it doesn't have a logo. But essentially, we have created a marketplace for independent operators in north Jersey that is commission free and subscription free. So you don't have to pay to be a part of it. And we are driving thousands of dollars in sales to local restaurants through this on a daily basis.

Angelo Esposito [00:44:56]:


Rev Ciancio [00:44:56]:

And we don't take a big commission like the third parties, and we don't charge you a subscription fee like some of the other tech companies. It's 100% free.

Angelo Esposito [00:45:04]:

Okay, question for you. If there's a website, where do people go to find Babu?

Rev Ciancio [00:45:10]:

Just reach out to me.

Angelo Esposito [00:45:12]:

Got it.

Rev Ciancio [00:45:12]:

Okay, cool. The marketplace is probably, by the time this episode is live, it will actually be a thing. It will be real, but without it being live, we're actually already getting inbound requests because other restaurants are telling other restaurants, yo, you need this.

Angelo Esposito [00:45:28]:

That's the best word of mouth. That's awesome. Okay, cool. So, babu, what else? Anything else on the horizon?

Rev Ciancio [00:45:33]:

Listen, you need help with marketing, reach out to me. I'm happy to answer questions. And look, I get it. Not everybody has the ability to hire a consultant or it doesn't have a budget right now to pay things, man. I produce a weekly newsletter or an almost weekly newsletter for free where I literally share tactics, just like I shared on this show today. It's restaurantsgrow tv. It's 100% free. I'll never charge for it.

Rev Ciancio [00:45:59]:

It's literally like it's all of my marketing notes on a weekly basis.

Angelo Esposito [00:46:04]:

That sounds awesome. Well, you heard it here, guys. A lot of feedback, a lot of places for you to check out, tools, real tactics to actually help your restaurant. You got this awesome conference or live conference happening at the end of the month that people can attend for free. So ton of things you got baboon. So many cool things coming up. So for people listening, I think you got some homework and some actionable things you can act on. To all our restauranteurs and Rev, thank you so much for sharing a little bit of your wisdom because I think it's super helpful to our listeners.

Angelo Esposito [00:46:34]:

So thanks for being on the show. Thanks for sharing some wisdom, and I'll see you next time.

Rev Ciancio [00:46:37]:

It's a pleasure and honor. Thank you.

Angelo Esposito [00:46:39]:

Feel free to check out WISK.AI for more resources and schedule a demo with one of our product specialists to see if it's a fit for.

Meet Your Host & Guest

David Ciancio, Co-Founder of Handcraft Burgers and Brew

Widely recognized as a thought leader in the restaurant sector, David has earned his reputation through years of dedicated service as a software and marketing expert. His consultancy, Yeah! Management, served as a launching pad for his influential presence at industry conferences and events. In addition to his role in steering the success of the 14-seat restaurant, David serves as the head of revenue marketing at Branded Strategic Hospitality and offers invaluable insights as a board advisor on Lunchbox's Food Tech Council. With a keen eye for innovation and a passion for driving growth, David "Rev" Ciancio continues to make waves in the ever-evolving landscape of the restaurant business.


Meet Angelo Esposito, the Co-Founder and CEO of WISK.ai, Angelo's vision is to revolutionize the hospitality industry by creating an inventory software that allows bar and restaurant owners to streamline their operations, improve their margins and sales, and minimize waste. With over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry, Angelo deeply understands the challenges faced by bar and restaurant owners. From managing inventory to tracking sales to forecasting demand, Angelo has seen it all firsthand. This gave him the insight he needed to create WISK.ai.

Recent Episodes

S2E19 - Leveraging Social Media & Tech for Restaurant Success with David Ciancio

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Notes du spectacle

Episode Notes

In this episode, Rev Ciancio, co-founder of Handcraft Burgers and Brew and head of revenue marketing for Branded Hospitality Ventures, shares his journey in the hospitality industry and provides valuable marketing tips for restaurateurs. He discusses the importance of content creation and leveraging social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Rev also emphasizes the significance of collecting emails and using SMS marketing to engage with customers. Additionally, he highlights the upcoming Restaurant Growth Summit and his other ventures, including a children's book. Overall, Rev's insights and anecdotes provide valuable lessons for those in the restaurant industry.


  • Content creation is a powerful tool for marketing in the hospitality industry.
  • Collecting emails and leveraging social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok can help restaurants engage with customers.
  • SMS marketing is an effective way to reach and communicate with customers.
  • Playing to your strengths and focusing on what you're good at can lead to success in the restaurant industry.
  • The Restaurant Growth Summit and other industry events provide valuable opportunities for learning and networking.


00:00 Introduction and Background

02:42 From Music Business to Hospitality

06:22 The Power of Content

10:31 Lessons from Past Mistakes

14:13 Marketing Strategies for Restaurants

19:28 Collecting Emails for Restaurants

21:57 Leveraging Social Media for Restaurants

27:54 Using SMS for Restaurant Marketing

30:18 Branded Hospitality Ventures

35:31 Rev's Children's Book

40:47 Anecdotes and Case Studies

43:39 Importance of Trying and Learning

44:08 Introducing Babu: A Commission-Free Marketplace

45:33 Free Marketing Resources

46:29 Wrap-up and Next Steps


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Learn more about Handcraft Burger and Brew!