Thursday, October 21, 2010

Is there a Native Arizonan restaurant in Manhattan?

NTN Buzztime gaming can be found in several regional and national chains, most notably Buffalo Wild Wings, but in many others also.

Add Native New Yorker to the list:

CARLSBAD, Calif. and GILBERT, Ariz., Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- NTN Buzztime, Inc. (NYSE Amex: NTN), a leading interactive bar and restaurant entertainment network, announced today a partnership with award-winning restaurant chain Native New Yorker. The companies have entered into a multi-year master services agreement that will further enhance the consumer dining experience in all of the current 21 sports-themed family restaurant franchise locations and future expansions.

Read the rest of the press release here. It describes the NTN Buzztime content, explains how restaurants can integrate their ads into the content, and uses big words like "targeted in-game promotions" and "proven restaurant marketing capabilities."

So who is Native New Yorker?

Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Gilbert, Arizona, Native New Yorker is one of the fastest growing franchise restaurants featuring award-winning Buffalo-style chicken wings and traditional American sports-grill favorites. Winning numerous local, regional and statewide dining awards along the way, the restaurant has grown from one location into 21 popular sports-themed restaurants in Arizona.

The chain's history is chronicled on their website. Here's how Native New Yorker began, after Judy and Floyd Anderson relocated from Buffalo to Arizona and decided to open a restaurant:

Judy and Floyd had the opportunity to buy LaMonica’s, a small, local pizza joint. Ready to begin turning their dreams into reality, they went to the bank, got approved for a loan, and took the plunge....

When total nightly sales consistently failed to break $60, they didn’t panic, knowing that building a business takes time. But as these first days turned into months, and then into their one-year anniversary without any improvement, it became increasingly difficult to keep telling themselves things would get better. Worry turned into depression, as they continued to change the menu and try every new fangled promotion they could think of. Nothing worked. Nagged by the incessant fear that they were running their finances into the ground, and with no one but creditors knocking on their restaurant door, the Andersons subscribed to the great American dream and borrowed more money.

After a valiant effort and a long, long struggle, the Anderson’s family dream was grasping for its last breaths. The money was gone. Their ideas had left them bankrupt. Their dreams now seemed nothing more than another sun-bleached skeleton claimed by the merciless desert landscape.

Then, just days before the bitter end, lightning struck. “We gave it our best shot,” was for other people. Judy decided to try one last menu promotion: Buffalo style chicken wings.

Being from Buffalo, New York, Judy and Floyd had spent many nights feasting on a local culinary phenomenon served at the now famous Anchor Bar. “If it worked there”, Judy thought, “why not here?” And with that, Judy made a trip to the local grocery store to buy enough chicken wings to test this east coast favorite on the incidental restaurant patrons they still had.

This experiment, coupled with their daughter's remembered lyrics from a 1977 disco song, were a powerful combination:

What started out as a typical Friday night in 1978, turned into a life altering event: only minutes after opening, the restaurant was filled. An hour later, there was a line at the front door. An hour after that, Floyd and Judy were looking at a two-hour wait to get into their restaurant....

Running to the phone, they called home, where Grandpa was watching the girls. Twenty minutes later, Judy was giving Debbie and Linda a crash course in table serving, Floyd was guiding Sherri through the intricacies of managing the door, and Grandpa was learning the art of chicken wing clipping and cutting, and little Jami quickly learned to answer the phones with the finesse of a seasoned switchboard operator. By the end of the night, Native New Yorker had crushed all sales records ten fold. The whole family sat down for a much deserved break and each of them, tired but too excited to collapse, knew that their two-year business struggle had come to a long awaited end.

I wonder if the early restaurant patrons brought cards to play poker.

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