Snuggie Pub Crawl is tonight

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, put on a Snuggie, the blanket with sleeves, and come to the second annual Snuggie Pub Crawl Downtown.

The money raised from the crawl will be donated to Amelia’s Voice, a charity trying to raise awareness for a rare disease that causes tumor-like growths on vocal chords. As of now there is no known cure and Amelia, a child affected by the disease and the namesake of the charity, has to have regular laser surgeries to keep the tumors from spreading to her lungs, which would be fatal.

So, where are we drinking?

The events starts at Kooky Canuck, an excellent place to kick it off. I love those 34 ounce beers! Check-in is at Kooky from 6 to 7. If you previously ordered tickets, you can pick them up at a will-call desk. If you haven’t bought an advance ticket and want to participate, best advice is to show up as close to 6 as possible, because there will only be a limited number of tickets left.

After we leave Kooky, the next stops are as follows:

7:00: B.B. King’s
8:00: Club 152
9:00: Silky’s
10:00: Rum Boogie Cafe
11:00: Alfred’s

There will be awards for best costume – men’s, women’s, and group, and best in show. Wonder what Puckett has planned for this year? Can he top the Samurai Snuggie of 2009?

There will also be bingo at the various bars, with the first five people turning in completed bingo cards at Alfred’s winning prizes.

In only its second year, this has become one of Memphis’ most highly anticipated pub crawls. Come join us!

Suspension coming for the Bruchebag?

I’m seeing reports on Twitter that Tennessee Vols men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl will be suspended for the first 8 conference games in SEC play this year. UT has already cracked down on Pearl, now the SEC. Next up, the NCAA.

Between Pearl’s suspension and kicker Jeff Reed being cut from the Steelers, it’s been a bad week for douchebags in sports. (Edit: Not college sports – apparently in my hung over state I forgot that the Steelers are a pro team.)

A revised suggestion for Downtown Dining Week

One of the things I’ve been preaching on this blog in recent weeks is that you have to own up to your mistakes on social media. Time for me to own up to one of mine.

Wednesday night I received numerous complaints about a particular restaurant only doing Downtown Dining Week specials from 5 to 7 PM. Several people went in after 7 and were not happy about having to pay full menu prices. Wednesday night I laid the blame for that on the owner of the restaurant.

Just got off the phone and it looks like I was incorrect. They told me they were operating within parameters set by the Center City Commission, which put Downtown Dining Week together, and that there were other restaurants also doing the 5-7 hours. Did not know that. I apologize for laying blame where I should not have.

So, my revised suggestion is this: The Downtown Dining Week site gives the impression that the specials are available during restaurants’ full dinner hours. If that is not the case, the hours need to be spelled out restaurant by restaurant in the listings on the website.  In the meantime, if you have DDW plans this weekend, you’d be well advised to call ahead and check on the hours of the specials being offered.

Kudos to all the participating restaurants for offering some amazing specials, in some cases at price points well below their norm. This is a fantastic event and I hope it continues and grows bigger next year.

A good decision

I made a very, very good decision. I decided that the day after my birthday should be a vacation day. On any birthday I believe this is a good idea, but especially when having a plate party on my birthday. Last night my fourth plate was unveiled:

When I first saw it I thought they got the color wrong – it appeared to be black, the color for the people who have only been through the 200-beer Ring of Honor one time. But, as you can see in the photo above, it really is dark blue, the color for fourth-timers who have gone through 800 beers (and as Findlay pointed out, another 800 Dos Equis Lagers that didn’t count toward the plate).

I had an entire year to forget that when it’s your birthday, people buy you shots. Feeling the effects this morning.

Thanks to all my friends for making it a memorable night, and to Lauren for the delicious cupcakes from Muddy’s Bake Shop.

Going to take a shower and see if that helps bring me back to life.

Thursday birthday update

I want to thank everyone who has left me birthday wishes on Facebook and Twitter today. It’s a nice problem to have, when my phone dies because too many Facebook push notifications have worn down the battery. It’s wonderful to have so many great friends.

Short post today, so I have nearly the full hour to go have a nice lunch. I do want to mention that the CCC and the organizers of Downtown Dining Week contacted me about the restaurant that was only doing the DDW menu from 5-7 PM but didn’t bother to communicate that fact. They contacted the restaurant and told me the problem has been taken care of.

If you like to use Twitter to keep up with Tiger games, @bharris901 is a good account to follow.

I won’t be able to defend my Buzztime poker title at Max’s tonight, due to birthday plans with a few friends. Poker starts at 7 but I’d recommend getting there by 6:30 to get a box. Good luck to all who play, and I hope to be back there two weeks from now to reclaim my championship.

Off work tomorrow, so the posting schedule will revert from “lunchtime update” to “whenever I feel like it.” There will probably be a few photos from tonight.

300 chefs line up for a spot on “Hell’s Kitchen”

Yesterday 300 chefs gathered at the Hard Rock Cafe for a casting call for Hell’s Kitchen, the Fox cooking reality show. Applicants included Chef John Bragg of Circa. There was no cooking yesterday, just interviews, and the top 80 were selected to be called back for an audition. Here’s an article about it in the CA.

One of the interviewers was Downtown celebrity foodie the Nuh-Uh Girl, who took time out from an extremely busy Downtown Dining Week schedule to talk to the chefs. My guess is that the chefs who answered “So, describe the kind of person to whom you would give free samples” to her liking will get called back.

Wed update

Yes it’s still Wednesday. How often is there a day when I go to work and still find time to post six times in one day? Attn everyone who found my blog today: This isn’t typical, so don’t get used to it.

Best tweet I saw today: “If you claim to want the best people for your team, yet refuse to allow remote devs, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.” Well said. Unfortunately 90% of local businesses do not get this.

If you’ve thought about using Foursquare to attract and retain customers to your business, but aren’t sure where to start, here’s a good guide.

There are all kinds of ways to tie rewards into Foursquare: Awards for multiple checkins, awards for being the “mayor” of your business. For example, let’s say you own a donut shop that serves 200 different types of donuts. Maybe you already have promotions like “Donut Day” where all donuts are $3.00 a dozen on Mondays. Maybe you even have a donut club where you get your name on the wall for eating all 200 different types. You could integrate Foursquare, for example, by offering your mayor a free donut every now and then.

The article also discusses reputation management via Foursquare, and using analytics that are available to owners and managers that have claimed their venues.

One of my readers wants to send a few care packages to our military in the Middle East this Thanksgiving. Can anyone who has served recommend the best items to send? Shoot me an e-mail at and I’ll pass on the info, and with your permission I’ll post it for other readers who would also like to send similar packages.

The Center City Commission has announced the first-ever Court Square tree decoration competition. Memphis businesses are invited to purchase a Christmas tree, approximately 12 feet in height, which they can decorate and display in Court Square during the holiday season. The public will vote on the three best trees, and the winners will have $250 teacher initiative grants in their businesses’ names presented to the new Memphis College Prep Elementary School in Uptown.

Trees are $250 to purchase and must be reserved by November 24. Call Dawn at 901-575-0555 or Taylor at 901-526-1318 to reserve. The holiday season will kick off with a tree lighting ceremony in Court Square at 6 PM on December 6.

This afternoon I found a good article on how to use Twitter in your job search.

Home from the Saucer, having completed beer 30 toward plate 5. One more day left to go in my abbreviated week. Time for sleep.

Hard Rock Cafe collecting turkeys to donate to Food Bank, challenging other Beale Street merchants to donate

As of yesterday, the Mid-South Food Bank had not yet received any turkeys donated for Thanksgiving. Hard Rock Cafe, which was already working on a promotion for World Hunger Year to end hunger throughout the world, decided it was time to take their efforts local. They purchased 12 turkeys to donate to the Food Bank. They’re challenging other members of the Beale Street Merchants Association and their fellow Memphians to increase that total.

Turkeys can be dropped off at the Hard Rock, which will see that they make it safely to the Food Bank. They’ve already received donations from Silky’s and Strange Cargo, and are hoping for more. You can drop the turkeys off at Hard Rock through Friday, November 19. If you have any questions you can call them at 901-529-0007.

Restaurants: How NOT to react to customer issues on Twitter

A few days ago, a friend of mine tweeted about bad service she had received at a Downtown restaurant, and commented that she would never go back again.

This morning the restaurant tweeted the following:

“#fixedproblemswithservice #bestserviceever #notoutofanythingeveragain”

This is one of the stupidest responses I have ever seen, and indicates that the restaurant in question does not get social media at all. Let’s examine this response hashtag by hashtag:

1) #fixedproblemswithservice: Why is this a hashtag? Hashtags make posts on a similar topic easier to organize and find. Who is ever going to be searching for “#fixedproblemswithservice?” Just say “Fixed problems with service” like a normal human being. The same goes for the two other hashtags in the response. Not that I’ve never been guilty of hashtag abuse on my own Twitter account, but I’m not trying to promote a business when I tweet.

By the way, why not tweet HOW you fixed the problems with service? People will be more willing to believe you if you provide details.

2) #bestserviceever: This is something you want your customers to be saying about you, not something you want to say about yourself on social media. Sounds like bragging and gives no indication that you’ve actually taken steps to correct the issues related to the customer’s complaint.

3) #notoutofanythingeveragain: This is not realistic. Every restaurant runs out of some item sometime. This sounds dismissive of the customer’s complaint, and rather condescending.

How would I have handled the complaint, based on my total of 0 years, 0 months, and 0 days in the service industry? I would have DMed the upset customer and asked her to describe the issues that occurred that led to her bad experience at my restaurant. I would have supplied an e-mail address so she could vent at greater length than 140 characters. And, of course, I’d have apologized.

Upon receiving her e-mail, I’d have read carefully what she wrote, then taken steps as necessary to ensure that other diners do not have the same bad experience. I’d have replied via e-mail thanking her for taking the time to provide feedback, and listing what corrective measures were taken. Then I’d have tweeted, “Thanks @customerusername for your thoughtful feedback. We value your business and hope you’ll give us another try.” As I learned at the Geekend conference, when you screw up and people call you out on it, own it.

If this restaurant doesn’t already use a social media consulting company, they need to hire one immediately. If they do, they need to call them immediately and set up a Twitter damage control session. They might also want to follow @kookycanuck, @peabodymemphis, @southofbeale and @majesticgrille, all of whom are very good case studies in how to use social media to effectively converse with customers.

A New Face for an Old Broad

Today I want to talk about an event that is not Downtown, but that I find very exciting. It’s in a neighborhood that is at the point in its redevelopment that South Main was at 10 years ago. Seeing what South Main became, I see tremendous potential in this neighborhood.

A New Face for an Old Broad will celebrate the redevelopment of the Broad Avenue area. Friday and Saturday, November 19 and 20, there will be art, music, food, kids’ activities, exercise classes, book signings, holiday shopping, protected bike lanes, and more. Over 10 bands will perform on the Great River Crossing stage.

While there, check out Blues City Thrift, a new thrift store that is opening in the area. It’s the dream of Amy Hoyt, who ran the excellent MIFA Store before MIFA decided to focus on other operations. Amy wants to provide a thrift shopping experience like Memphis has never seen, and if you saw the incredible bargains at the MIFA Store, then you know Amy can deliver. 100% of the profits from the store will be donated to Memphis charities.

Also check out the art gallery Odessa for an exhibition by Joshua Smith, better known as Hydro74. The Hydro74 solo will feature Smith’s work across various mediums including print, apparel and wheatpaste installations. Smith is an Orlando-based designer who makes cutting edge branding, apparel, illustration and typography. His work bridges the gap between fine art and advertising brand with an impressive client list. In addition to the exhibition, Smith will also be giving a lecture on his work and process in conjunction with the local Memphis AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) chapter. The talk will take place at Stop345 – 345 Madison Ave – at 6:30 P.M. on November 19th and is being co-sponsored by Click-Boom and Desingabolic.

Check the events calendar for more info on what will be happening at A New Face for an Old Broad.

Time to run up the street and defend my Zaxby’s mayorship… will probably post again this evening.