Being in Nashville, I was told unequivocally that I must eat at The Loveless Café. Having seen them on Food Network as well as being a landmark restaurant of the area for biscuits, breakfasts and their fried chicken it didn’t take much to convince me.
Their food was indeed delicious, though I’m not sure about ‘knock you over and sing alleluia’ delicious. But what I was most impressed with was their well tuned marketing.
Lots of Social Hype
Loveless Café has made sure to encourage the continued word-of-mouth that got them famous. There are social media reminders everywhere, including at the table, and you can sign up for digital newsletters, or to their Facebook/Twitter accounts, blog and more. The ability to buy t-shirts, hats, stickers and cookbooks touting your support/love of the company is also a proponent. Loveless Café even sells gift baskets and offers corporate gift packages! Talk about making your stuff available anywhere anyhow. Don’t stop there, host a party at Loveless Cage or order gifts online and have them delivered.
Which brings me to my next point: this place has a whole building devoted to selling Loveless related goods including biscuit mix, jams, sauces, t-shirts, cookbooks, stickers, shot glasses, etc. Unlike Cracker Barrel, there’s room to move around and it’s off to the side so you’re not fighting people trying to get reservations.
On top of all that there’s a whole village of shops that local craftsmen/women probably rent out. You can wander, browse and shop while you wait for your table. (It’s often a LONG wait). Don’t worry, the staff will tell you your buzzing alert box for when your seat is ready will work no matter where you are in the little village!
Finally the experience I think is what we’re really buying. The whole ‘village’ is lined with casual seating spots. There were some outdoor games like corn hole set up for waiting customers. The neon sign and the old building that is the Café still stands strong and authentic. There is a feeling of community here, of slowing down. That above all is what I believe Loveless Café sells. They sell it very well.
Even though we were moved in and out of our table swiftly and our food served rather quickly we never felt rushed. The staff were attentive, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was down-home.
I’m picking out a ton of reasons why Loveless Café is doing well, and the short-lived publicity spotlight of Food Network isn’t it. Sure they put out fliers in hotels and at other hot destinations, but I’d wager it’s their experience and their excellent word-of-mouth efforts that make the real magic.