Jul 5, 2024 6 min read

How to Increase Your Business With Free Sunblock and Hot Dogs on a Stick

The 10% method is a business improvement system with a very simple principle: you pick one thing in your business, just one thing and improve it by just 10%.
How to Increase Your Business With Free Sunblock and Hot Dogs on a Stick
Jump to your favorite section

I don't believe in problems, I believe in challenges and challenges can be overcome. I believe it’s not hard to find the solution, if you think about it.

I remember hearing Kobe Bryan talk about getting to the gym earlier than anyone else. One or two days wont make much of a difference but over time, he is light years ahead. It gave me an idea that spawned what I call the 10% method.

The 10% method is a business improvement system with a very simple principle: you pick one thing in your business, just one thing and improve it by just 10%.

For restaurants, it could be your food, your service, your tech, your dining room, your packaging, etc etc etc etc and you find one simple way to improve it by 10%. Then you pick the next thing, the next thing, the next thing and so on.

That one little improvement may not yield the biggest result, but over time all the improvements have a compounding effect.

I was brainstorming with the ever creative and engaging Khanh Nguyen (AKA Morpheus), CEO and founder of Zalat Pizza, about ways to improve business. The restaurant biz is going through a tough moment. Cost of goods, inflation, continued labor challenges and competition continue to present challenges to business growth. He and I were using the 110% method to come up with creative ways to work through it.

Zalat is known for a lot of things, but one of which is writing personal notes on pizza boxes. Their guests really dig it. I asked Morpheus was there a way to up that by 10%? We talked about Pizza Bib. They are very creatively designed pizza boxes that you place along your chest to protect your shirt from getting messy but they have funny designs inside.

Moments after our great conversation, I headed downstairs to eat pizza. I was in Normal, IL on my 15 day, 3,000 mile, 10 state food crawl visiting Adam Elpayaa at Pizza Payaa. I held my office hours that day in his balcony. The first thing he said to me was "check out what we just got!" It was a Pizza Bib.

That is what I call a sign from the universe, a source of infinite power and inspiration for all of us. Then I ate Adam's amazing Detroit-style pizza. His pizza is NOT like everyone other's. Its amazing and if you are ever near Normal, IL --- its a must.

That same day I also stopped into Heaterz Hot Chicken where they have, get this .... a Nashville Hot Style Breadstick! Its really tasty.

On my way back to Pizza Payaa, I stopped into Coffee Hound where you can get a cappuccino and it comes also with an Espresso. They call it a Sidecar. I asked "why would I want this?" and they answered "so you can also taste the espresso!" Genius.

Later that day, as I resumed my roadtrip, I stopped in at the Cozy Dog Drive In in Springfield, IL. You may have heard of this famous landmark restaurant located along Route 66. On June 16, 1946 they were the first restaurant to serve a corn dog on a stick.

They may have not invented the corn dog (that honor goes to Pronto Pup in East Tawas, MI) but they improved it by 10% and had a huge impact on the world.

It kept seeing it all along my trip ...

Primanti Bros. Restaurant and Bar added coleslaw and fries to a sandwich...

Condado Tacos has overly decorative dining rooms that bleeds into their branding ... I was seeing the 10% method all over the place.

That got me thinking ... Pizza Bibs, Sidecars, unique Detroit-style pizzas, Corn Dogs on sticks ...

The Lesson I learned on that day of my journey: you don’t have to reinvent the world to stand out and make a difference, you just have to make it a little better. Its the 10% method!

Two days later, I was at Holiday World & Splashin'​ Safari in Santa Claus, IN ... yes, that is a holiday themed amusement park in a city named after Old St. Nick ... and its incredible.

With the 10% method firmly in my thoughts, I realized why Holiday World is one of the top rated amusement parks on Tripadvisor ... the 10% method.

What makes Holiday World so special, I mean other than some absolutely banging coasters?

1. Free soda.

- That's right. If you're thirsty after taking a massively awesome ride on The Voyage Roller coaster, you can cool down with a free iced-tea.

PS they also have free parking, free sun screen, free use of inner tubes, free WiFi and other free stuff. Guests love it and it not only keeps them coming back, it keeps them leaving tons of 5 star reviews.

2. The word please.

Most businesses have areas where only employees are welcome. What does it say on those doors? "Employees only." Not at Holiday World. Their doors say "Employees Only, please." By simply adding the word please, they make the whole vibe of the park even nicer.

3. Bag drops and assistance.

A lot of parks these days don't want you walking up to the coaster with a bag so they make you drop it in a locker. Many parks however have a bag drop on the other side of the train where you can place your bag right before you ride.

Holiday World doesn't make you locker check your bag and in fact, on many coasters, a team member will reach across the train and offer to put your bag in the train-side bag check. Now the coaster loads faster and you are a happier guest.

I could go on and on here, but you see the point through these examples, right?

A little improvement here, a little improvement over there, repeated over time and voila you've got an experience like no other business.

I shared some of this with my business partner Chad gaudet and he immediately jumped into action. One of our taverns, Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails is now in renovation during the Independence Day period, a generally slow time in NYC.

At Handcraft Burgers and Brew , we handed over menu innovation to our GM Vanessa. She's has worked for many restaurants, has seen a lot of great ideas and developed many of her own. She came up with our Smashed Steakhouse Burger.

Vanessa recently learned that our block, including our other restaurant, Croton Reservoir Tavern is a regular Pokestop. With that, she created a crazy Pokemon themed menu that will be live during Pokemon Go Fest in NYC.

And it won't stop there!

So, with that ... how will you implemented the 10% method? What is the first thing you will improve by 10%?


Do you need help with any of this? Send me an email rev@brandedstrategic.net

- Rev Ciancio


*I help restaurants to build guest marketing programs.

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

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Hospitality Headline.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.