Viva Baltimore….The King Krawl Hits Charm City (And a story of stellar service)

Fun / Ramblings

Last Saturday I gathered up a ‘coalition of the silly’ to take part in the first annual ‘King Krawl’ up in Baltimore. We had a few entrepreneurs and Maverick members like Chris Daigle, Andy Miller, Ian Platt, Chad Mac, Rob Olic and Dave Dolak. And we had a few of my brother, Adam’s, former college friends.

There were about 10 of us all dressed up as the King that invaded Baltimore.

We basically had 2 rules.

Rule #1 – Stay in Elvis costume all night.
Rule #2 – See rule #1

We got some serious stares from people starting with the cab ride over to my brother’s house in Canton. At stop lights, people were yelling and taking pictures of us. Then when we got up to my brother’s place we added another 3 Elvi’s to our group to bring us to 10 strong.

Here are a couple photos before the ensuing antics:

king krawl 2008- baltimore

king krawl 2008 - pic2

And here’s a little video as we ate dinner:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0uvJZhlmJw

It was a total motley crew of different Elvis outfits and sequined suits. I was the only brave enough (or stupid enough) to wear the fat costume. That was one of my favorite outfits when Frank Kern and I did a road rally a few years back when we barely fit into our lime green Lotus with our fat suits on.

Everywhere we went, we definitely created a scene from people wanted pictures with us to them asking us WHY we were doing this. There were lots of different answers and we never had our story straight. Some of the guys said it was for my birthday, others said they were lobbying to bring the Elvis convention to Baltimore and my favorite explanation someone made up was “The King for E.D.” Then we would sing “Viva Viagra!”

It got a bit crazy – and I have to hand it to the DJs of most to the bars. Within 5-10 minutes of walking in they’d put on some sort of Elvis song. Then we’d do a little hip wiggling and really bad singing for the crowd. People at the bars were pretty polarized – they either thought it was funny and wanted in on the action or thought we were a bunch of idiots and wanted no part of us.

I think both groups were sorta right.

**

Stellar Service in New York? Yup!

Yesterday I headed into New York City for a few meetings with WIRED and an interview with the ‘Forbes Adventurer’, Jim Clash, on my upcoming Virgin Galactic Space flight. Last night, Dan Schorr, our head of sponsorship and partnership at Maverick, headed to The Modern for dinner. He developed a relationship with Danny Meyers, the famed CEO of several top NYC restaurants including the Modern and author of “Setting the Table”.

One of the touchstones of Danny’s book is his philosophy of ‘Enlightened Hospitality’. He hires people who are eager to serve others and do whatever it takes to make their meals memorable.

I wanted to go to one of his restaurants to check out how they do it and keep my antennae up for marketing nuggets. Now the Modern is a pretty upscale restaurant but Danny’s restaurants range from the elegant to a simple ‘Shake Shack’ serving up shakes (obviously) & burgers & hot dogs.

The meal at the Modern is a typically a tasting menu or a 3-course prixe fixe menu. I went for the tasting menu accompanying by a glass of wine for each course. The service was spot on and the food was excellent – but the real story of ‘Enlightened Hospitality’ came about ¾ of the way through our dinner.

Our table backed up to table of a 50-something couple who were obviously not happy with each other. He was yelling at her about why her parents had to come for Thanksgiving to just general obscenities. Seriously. As the night progressed they got louder and louder. Dan was right behind them and it was impacting our dinner conversation. I headed off to the bathroom and while I was gone our wine steward and waiter, Nick, did something pretty interesting. He came to the table and overly exaggerated to spill a small amount of bottled water on our table. Then in a loud voice (to make sure the other couple could hear) he said, “Oops…how clumsy of me. I can’t believe I spilled water all over the table. We can’t have you sitting at a wet table so let me move you over right away.” Then a team of 7 swooped in and moved our table, wine glasses (probably 6 of them) and meals across the dining room.

I walked out of the bathroom and stood awestruck for a second because our table was completely cleared. I looked around and found Dan across the room. The staff had correctly assessed the situation as being irksome and did something really smart (but at the same time not embarrassing to the other couple).

The Story of Stellar Service that “MUST” be Told

Problems like these handled incredibly well create stories of stellar service that people want to share. It’s a pretty powerful marketing concept because Dan and I are practically forced to tell others about this experience. In fact, he already mentioned it to 3 people including the publisher of WIRED magazine. And now I’m sharing it on my blog for even more exposure for them. 😉

9 Comments

  1. scott gerrish
    September 24, 2008, 11:49 am

    Yanik, I was fortunate enough to have been invited out the the mojave desert to see the Virgin Galactic Space flight operation. I was just amazed at the undertaking. I am friends with Matthew Upchurch, owner of Virtuoso Travel in Fort Worth, TX, my wife and I were his guests that weekend, at his travel mart show in Las Vegas.

    Love your blog, I have many similar travel adventure goals – went heli-skiing in Alaska last spring – keep up the good stuff

    Will you be at the ETR event in November in Del Ray Beach ? Would love to meet you.

    Scott Gerrish

    * Hey Scott, yep I am guest speaking at ETR. Definitely come up and say hi. We’ll grab a drink. – Y.S. *

  2. Linda
    September 26, 2008, 9:48 am

    Yanik:

    Wish I could have been there for your “King Krawl”…the pictures & video are hilarious!

    Reminds me of an evening in Las Vegas, 20 years ago, when a friend and I dressed up as hard-core punk rockers & attended a baseball game, then went out on the town! We had a blast & enjoyed all the stares, but my cover was blown the next day at a golf tournament.

    You see, I was an anchor-reporter for Las Vegas’ all-news radio station & was sent out to cover the tournament. Anyway, when I walked up to the tournament official I was supposed to interview, I realized he was one of the guys we’d hung out with the night before. I’m sure the embarrassed look on my face must have matched the surprised one on his!

  3. September 30, 2008, 6:59 am

    Hey Yanik,

    Loved the tales of the Baltimore “King Krawl” Elvis’ adventures, sounds like a lot of fun, even if there wasn’t a concrete reason to do it!! Also sounds like it would have been a good time to promote something, hand out flyers or cards to a web site or similar could have been used, but good clean fun at any rate!

    The stellar service story was great as well, to think that the servers came up with and executed it was brilliant! Those guys would probably be good business partners in something they all enjoy.

    Thanks for the stories,
    James A Nichols

  4. M
    September 30, 2008, 1:44 pm

    Yanik,

    Did this guy totally rip off the Internet Lifestyle idea?

    http://www.realestatelifestyle.com

    Suspiciously close to your logo, etc….

    Hmmmmmmm

  5. October 5, 2008, 9:45 am

    Not even close…doesn’t look anything like Yanik’s blog, website, etc.

    Secondly, a very interesting idea Yanik about the service. How many restaurants and business owners really go out of their way to impress their customers. As a matter of fact, I could give you more examples of how they go out of their way to irk their customers than to treat them with excellent service.

    Something for us all to keep in mind!

  6. October 14, 2008, 4:57 pm

    THIS IS PURE BRILLIANCE!!

  7. October 15, 2008, 3:12 pm

    Hey Yanik,

    Wish I could have made the Chicago 35 minute party, was on a plane by then.

    I’m a big fan of Danny Meyer’s restaurants and his book! Its definitely an experience worth having in New York.

    Posted my lessons learned and experiences at Jazz Standard and his first place, Union Square Cafe. (also went to Shake Shack during the trip)

    -Kevin

    Jazz Standard: http://www.nitromarketing.com/blog/my-adventures-in-new-york-city-day-1/

    Union Square Cafe: http://www.nitromarketing.com/blog/my-adventures-in-new-york-city-day-2/

    * Sorry we didn’t get to hang out too much in Chicago. Very cool – you can definitely learn a lot about how to take care of customers from them. – Y.S. *

  8. Elitsa
    October 23, 2008, 11:47 am

    Great, Yanik..I hope I won’t miss another chance to meet you soon…Stay tuned. Elitsa Asenova

  9. March 3, 2009, 10:22 am

    […] Yanik’s blog: http://www.InternetLifeStyle.com.  He has a great style of weaving in a combination of fun, success and contribution to most of his posts.  Here are a couple heavy on the fun side   “The Non-stop 35th Birthday Party (and an important marketing lesson on ‘Conversation’)“, or “Viva Baltimore….The King Krawl Hits Charm City (And a story of stellar service)”. […]

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