May 24, 2024 4 min read

BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS: The Marketing Executives Group (MEG) 2024

The Marketing Executives Group (AKA The MEG) just concluded in Chicago. This is an amazing show. They do everything right. Great food. Good content. Great networking. Every other trade show organizer needs to experience MEG.
BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS: The Marketing Executives Group (MEG) 2024
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The Marketing Executives Group (AKA The MEG) just concluded in Chicago. They describe it "the signature event for the Marketing Expert Exchange Community, a community of restaurant marketing professionals who are connected 365 days a year and come together every May in Chicago preceding the National Restaurant Association Show. MEG raises the level of industry excellence by connecting, inspiring, teaching and challenging each other through the exchange of ideas, thought leadership and best practices."

This is an amazing show. They do everything right. Great food. Good content. Great networking. Parties that all attendees go to. Free chargers. Water. Soda. Coffee. Free headshots. Free WiFi. Comfortable seats. Lots of table. Every other trade show organizer needs to experience MEG.

And above all, the people that attend are smart, creative, curious and proactive MARKETERS.


Here are my…



You can discount and send offers until you’re blue in the face, which for restaurants is exhausting your database, but if you really want to create real brand loyalty, which in this case is actually brand love, make the experience awesome.

What can you do to your food, your packaging, your store, your service … to make it 10% better.


Short and sweet --- if you're not, you should be. Those that are doing it are loving it.

Here’s my framework: invite every influencer in your dine with you. You don’t have to pay them but it’s not a bad idea to compensate people for their work. Over time, a few influencers will rise to the top. Their content is great. They love the brand. Their followers are engaged. Make those content creators brand ambassadors. Invite them in once a month. Give them an unlimited tab. Invite them to tastings. Get them on your team.


  • Quick and consistent response to guest feedback and reviews
  • Menu and LTO idea generation
  • Fun content on social media
  • Upsell recommendations
  • Create started copy for email and social
  • Predicting churn and automating marketing that get them to come back in. Ask Abhinav Kapur and Zachary Goldstein how they do this. Also, thank them for some of these ideas.


Its been said by tons of people tons of times but its true --- dont let perfection get in the way of good enough. (and Ill personally quote Jimmy Frischling as the person in my life who most practices this). Don’t wait to get started on email, social, sms, ads, loyalty etc. you’ll get better at it over time.

We are restaurants. We run an on demand production facility and entertainment venue in the same building. We solve problems in real time. We are scrappy as hell.

Use that same energy and thinking in the back office too.


Every single restaurant marketer I spoke to is concerned with traffic right now. We need new guests. We need more frequency.

And there’s a lot of ways to do it.

Here are five solutions I use that I suggest you take a look at at:

Guru.Club LLC : I freaking love this. Turn every guest into an influencer. Get your guests to share their experience instagram and tagging your brand by offering them an incentive. We give guests $5 when they do it. We get awareness, increased engagement on social media, direct connections to guests through DMs, grow our database and drive return trips.

Check it out:

Nift : Attract new guests through a huge network of people looking for offers from restaurants. You offer an incentive to dine (ex: $10 off first purchase) and you get the name and email for 100% of people who SELECT the offers regardless of if they redeem or not. Great way to attract new guests and busily your database.

VivaSpot : gated WiFi is the single best way to collect guest email addresses. It’s affordable. It’s easy. People want it and email is the best retention tool you have. 1/3rd of my list at Handcraft Burgers & Brew was built on free WiFi. We use Vivaspot.

Ovation : get feedback from EVERY guest on EVERY PURCHASE with a really simple, sms based, 2 question survey. We use this to get feedback, grow our data base, solve customer problems in real time, convert from 3rd party, have two way conversations with our guests, reply to every review and do sms marketing. Amazing tool.

Marqii : every restaurant needs this. Full stop. Organize, management and update your information on Google, Yelp, Facebook, Bing, yahoo, Apple Maps, Siri, Alexa and dozens of other.networks with one automated dashboard. Result: better local SEO and ensuring that people who are searching for your restaurant have all the correct data. Get Marqii now.


If you were at The MEG, what did you learn?


Do you need help with any of this? Send e an email

- Rev Ciancio


*I help restaurants to build guest marketing programs.

*I help hospitality tech companies with lead generation and content marketing.

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