Scholarship recipient, Chris Coffman – Pinky’s Bar & Grill, talks about his DCC experience
Introduce yourself, your business, when you started.
Howdy! I’m Chris Coffman, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of the new Pinky’s in Courtland, KS with my wife Adri. Both of us spent most of our professional careers in the hospitality industry and found ourselves unhappy with our current situation so we decided to chase down our best lives which resulted in us buying Pinky’s in November of 2019.
How did Covid-19 impact your business?
Oh man, what a wild ride, when we bought Pinky’s we didn’t realize the reputation of the place had declined so heavily. For the first few months we were gaining some traction and getting our name out there and when COVID happened it immediately killed that momentum. When we were restricted to carry-out and delivery only it also took a toll. We chose to pivot and opened a pop-up grocery store in our business for essentials, fresh breads, dairy, lunch meats, fresh and frozen produce, etc, if we could get it and someone needed it, we made it happen. This allowed folks in town to avoid leaving town for some groceries and enabled us to continue to meet people in our new community and kept our name out there.
COVID still affects our business on a daily basis. We aren’t pulling as many people from outside of the community as we’d like, don’t get me wrong we love our locals and regulars but we also love new faces and with all the different guidelines from county to county and state to state I feel like people aren’t as apt to “try that new place” if they have to navigate the landscape of COVID do’s and don’ts.
What did you want to learn going into DCC?
There’s so much! To be honest, a lot of what you will learn in DCC are things you’ve heard before, but sometimes combining those things with other strategies can make them more effective, or sometimes, just learning a new way to look at something can be worth its weight.
Were are you able to identify a unique position for your business in your market?
Man, this one haunts me. Trying to identify a unique position for a restaurant is difficult. We make most everything from scratch, but a lot of restaurants do. We strive for great times and good service, but that’s what all successful restaurants do. We have an eclectic menu, inspired by our travels and our love of food, but lots of restaurants do that too. We host “Cooking for a Cause” where we teach you a recipe or style of cooking and donate the proceeds to a cause, the most recent raised money for our Elementary school’s playground and parking lot, but we aren’t the only restaurant that cares and gives back to its community. We believe in kindness as a rule of business and life, but this isn’t unique either. Maybe what makes us truly unique is the culmination of all these things, but how do I put that into words?
Were there ideas from DCC that you plan to implement in you business?
Yes! A few, but I hate spoilers. But I do have a completely new view on “area codes”, this one hit me like a ton of bricks.
Advice for other businesses on how DCC could help them improve and become a destination?
Like I mentioned earlier, sometimes just changing the way you see something can have a remarkable effect. DCC will definitely tint the lenses you look at your business with a few different ways and help you see things differently.
Which chapters were most impactful for your business or strategies?
- Chapter 1: Becoming a Destination Business
- Chapter 2: Your Unique Positioning
- Chapter 3: Your Leadership Responsibility
- Chapter 4: Targeting Your Most Profitable Customers – “Targeting” feels like an aggressive word, but DCC will teach you how you can reward your top customers and reap the benefits of doing so. This one had a profound impact on how I saw some customers.
- Chapter 5: Capturing Consumer and Media Attention
- Chapter 6: Creating a Customer-Focused Company
- Chapter 7: Marketing Your Destination Business
- Chapter 8: Collective Marketing
When did you attend DCC and have you seen a positive impact yet in your business?
Nov/Dec of 2020, most of the things we’re working to implement from DCC are all medium term changes, as such the impact isn’t quite there yet, but yes, there are some small things that we’ve done that have had an impact.
Events, products, or services you’d like to feature?
Oh this one is fun! It’s February, we’ve got Super Bowl, Valentines, and Mardi Gras, it’s going to be a fun month, check our Facebook page for more (it’s the one with the bear).
We do fresh specials every Friday and Saturday night, Steak Night once or twice a month on Friday/Saturdays as well. We’re always up to something, we’re even looking into a Karaoke night and can’t wait for warm weather to start booking some music on the outside stage!