America’s Best Restaurants, a national media and marketing company focusing on local, independently-owned restaurants around the country, has reached a remarkable milestone – 800 episodes of its Roadshow filmed since beginning in July 2021.
CEO Matt Plapp came up with the idea to do a traveling restaurant-focused food show in 2018. The show airs solely on social media, such as the Facebook page of the hosting restaurant and America’s Best Restaurant’s YouTube channel.
Doug Smith, COO of the company’s marketing division Restaurant Marketing That Works, remembers those early days of shooting at least a half-dozen episodes per day in whatever state the Roadshow was targeting. Bad weather, van breakdowns, and exhaustion of the small crew of hosts and videographers was not atypical.
“It’s been exciting to watch the make-it-up-on-the-fly episode shoot evolve into what it is today,” says Smith. “The high-tech cameras, lighting and overall storytelling really puts the spotlight on the independent restaurants we visit.”
Now Plapp employs twenty-five people in the Roadshow division of his company, from sales to show hosts.
“Massive attention from community excitement around a restaurant is our goal,” Plapp says. “Every week, we help restaurant owners tell their story. But when that story comes from America’s Best Restaurants, consumers get even more excited.”
The mission of the Roadshow is to highlight local, independent restaurants with a story to tell. Restaurant owners who are selected to be on an episode find the filming experience to be fun and a big boost to their bottom line. In March, the Roadshow traveled through Wisconsin and The Palms Supper Club in Schofield was one of the stops. The Palms’ General Manager, Anna Anderson, was thrilled at the response from the public after gaining publicity just from the visit.
“I’ve never had anything like this as far as a marketing campaign, or an advertising campaign bring in this many,” Anderson said. “I’ve just never seen anything like this so I’m super happy. We’re really happy we were involved.”
The filming of the 800th episode happened to coincide with a late March fundraising event at The Corner Bar, a restaurant and bar in Rockford, Michigan. An employee of the restaurant needed financial assistance after a family tragedy, and the Roadshow was able to bring additional attention to the event by being there to highlight the restaurant’s food and drink.
Greg Hutson, the Roadshow host who was in front of the camera for the visit, describes the experience as ‘kismet’.
“We were meant to be there that day,” Hutson said. “The fact that it was also a landmark episode was the Universe saying ‘yes, today is special’ and confirmed that we are on the right track telling the stories of independent restaurants.”
America’s Best Restaurants recently added a third van to their fleet which will be stationed nearer the west coast.
America’s Best Restaurants, a national media and restaurant marketing company based in Florence, KY, travels the country telling the stories and highlighting the unique food of locally owned independent restaurants as part of their ABR Roadshow. Restaurants are featured not only on ABR’s Restaurant Network of social media channels and website, but also each individual establishment’s Facebook page. With over 800 episodes filmed, America’s Best Restaurants is the premier marketing agency for restaurant owners and operators to have their story broadcast coast-to-coast. Visit AmericasBestRestaurants.com to learn more and to view the episodes and profiles of hundreds of America’s Best Restaurants!