[Podcast] Own Diner’s Attention With Matt Plapp, CEO of America’s Best Restaurants

[Podcast] Own Diner’s Attention With Matt Plapp, CEO of America’s Best Restaurants
D. J. Costantino

By D. J. Costantino


Matt Plapp and his team have been to more restaurants than anyone. Since 2021, they've taken cross country to visit and document America's best independent restaurants. And they've learned what separates successful restaurants from struggling ones.

Matt joins us on the Restaurant Growth Podcast to chat about:

  • His career in radio advertising to restaurant marketing
  • What 90 to 95% or restaurant are not doing—but should be
  • A ton of creative ways to collect customer data
  • The importance of storytelling
  • Whether or not Matt has taken his van to Hawaii
  • And more!

The Restaurant Growth Podcast is Presented by 7shifts and hosted by DJ Costantino.

Meet Matt Plapp

First, I'm a husband to Christy for the past 20 years, then a father to Paige & Cole. Next I'm an AVID marketer, CrossFitter, Author, Speaker, Consultant & Business Coach. I've owned my marketing firm since 2008 and since then we've helped hundreds of companies market with a purpose, that purpose is ROI! Since 2016 our main focus has been to help independent restaurants, and today we help restaurants all over the country.

Big Ideas

(Good) restaurant marketing hasn't changed all that much

“The things we've been preaching for the last seven to 10 years are as relevant today as they ever have been. If not more. Yeah. And it's the same stuff. And so that's where we decided to change the, the title of the book from restaurant marketing that works to restaurant market that works before, during, and after the pandemic for that reason.

Because what we were preaching five years ago, telling your story, gathering customer data and using the data correctly is more relevant today than it was then.”

And restaurants do a bad job of gathering customer data

“And so the biggest thing I noticed, and this is gigantic, is that between 90 to 95% of restaurants are not actively involved in gaining customers data”

“Restaurants need to find data. Now, first, our acronym we use for America's best restaurants is ABR attract, build, retain. So there are three main places you can attract attention. You can attract attention on your website...everywhere you attract attention, you should be leveraging it to gain data,”

You don't need an app to go digital

I'll address the, whether if the elephant in the room, if you're an independent restaurant with, I'll say under 20 locations, don't waste your time with an app. I eat out all the time. I'm not downloading it. People, the, the people that have apps that do. Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Dunkin', the big boys that have massive money that people eat at all the time.

And they just dump a lot of money into that process. But I'll also say this, like I eat at Chipotle. I don't have their app. I'm not a big ad person. And so if you're an independent, you're a small chain, you're a small brand, the app isn't where it's at,”

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D. J. Costantino
D. J. Costantino

Hi! I'm D.J., 7shifts' resident Content Writer. I come from a family of chefs and have a background in food journalism. I'm always looking for ways to help make the restaurant industry better!