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Restaurant Group Launches for Independently Owned Establishments

November 16, 2009


WILMINGTON, NC – Original Restaurants is a new organization dedicated to the growth of independently owned restaurants throughout the United States. Original Restaurants serves several groups of locally owned restaurants in multiple metro areas that, through unique marketing programs, strive to encourage people to dine among their independently owned restaurants as opposed to large chains. The Original Restaurants organization was created to serve as a conduit for all of these restaurant groups, offering a range of marketing services to all members, from a Rewards Card Program to customer satisfaction management.

“The creation of this single marketing platform allows locally owned restaurants to market themselves together as the highest quality, unique restaurants in the country. We want to help our restaurants preserve and protect the local culinary landscape, while also providing the public with a rewarding dining experience,” says Kermit Austin, Director of Original Restaurants.

The Originals Rewards concept began in 2005 with the creation of the Kansas City Originals. A group of 30 independently owned restaurants banned together to offer rewards to their customers for dining at their locally owned establishments. The group partnered with PowerCard, a software company with experience in retail and hospitality IT initiatives, to create and manage the nation’s first Rewards Card Program for independently-owned restaurants. Diners sign up for a free card and use it at any Kansas City Originals restaurant, offering the ability to carry just one card and enjoy rewards from over 45 local restaurants. Diners earn 1 point for each dollar spent; and for every 150 points earned, the card is credited for $10 cash that can be spent at any member restaurant. This frequent diner card program was a success, accumulating 52,000 cardholders within the first three years. The Kansas City Originals cardholders now spend more than $850,000 each month dining out at these local restaurants.

With the recent economic hardship presenting a need for great deals, and the obvious success of the Kansas City Originals, five additional groups were founded in large cities throughout the U.S: the Birmingham Originals, Louisville Originals, St. Louis Originals, the Twin Cities Originals, and the Columbia Originals. The six Originals now account for 147,000 Rewards Card members pouring $3.5M per month into a network of 212 locally owned restaurants. In addition to the Rewards Card Program, member restaurants enjoy many other Original Restaurant marketing services, including customer database management tools, customer satisfaction feedback for quality control, group website creation and management, and an email system that promotes upcoming events.

“The goal of Original Restaurants is to raise awareness for independent and local dining.  It’s these restaurateurs that capture each community’s flavor and unique personality. They stimulate the economy, support local charity initiatives and offer employment opportunities within local communities.  Not to mention, these groups are passionate about food. They insist it’s fresh, local, and full of flavor. Diners get great food, and a great deal. It’s a win-win for everyone,” comments Mr. Austin.

Original Restaurants was formed as a response to the overwhelming growth of chain restaurants that began to threaten independently owned establishments, in an effort to help locally owned restaurants flourish. Benefits of membership in the Original Restaurant group include collaborative marketing efforts, the ability to reach an existing pool of 147,000 local diners, free marketing and public relations resources, networking, community involvement, and volunteer opportunities. Funding comes in part through the sale of online gift certificates from member restaurants and group gift cards. For more details about the participating cities, member restaurants, Rewards Card Program details, and contact information to begin your own restaurant group, visit http://www.originalrestaurants.com.


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