The $100 Cheesesteak Marketing Stunt Success Story

In March 2004, Howard Wein, a Food & Beverage expert, helped launch a new luxury boutique steakhouse called Barclay Prime in Philadelphia, US, by using a smart marketing stunt.

Wein knew that good food and great atmosphere are not enough, because:

  • 25% of new restaurants fail in their first year, and
  • 60% go out of business in their first three years.

(According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Newly launched restaurants struggle to get the word out that they opened their doors.

Wein needed to generate buzz in a market crowded with steakhouses.

He needed to make Barclay Prime stand out in the crowd.

Wein decided to get people talking about his new restaurant… by using a smart marketing stunt!

How can a marketing stunt propel your brand into the limelight

By offering something very newsworthy, a hundred-dollar cheesesteak!

In a time where a standard cheesesteak would cost $4-5…

Wein offered a work of culinary art; a cheesesteak like no other; a cheesesteak as expensive as eating gold!

He created ‘The Most Expensive and Luxurious Philly Cheesesteak’.

How a $100 dollars cheesesteak look like!

How a $100 dollars cheesesteak look like!

It wasn’t just another cheesesteak, it was ‘a conversation piece’.

A sandwich made of haute ingredients a foodie can dream of (kobe steak, foie gras, Taleggio, truffles, & other fine ingredients), coupled with the right bubbly.

People tried out the ridiculously-priced cheesesteak and …

LOVED it so much that they told others who did just the same.

When a marketing stunt succeeds…

It worked like magic!

The gorilla marketing stunt worked like charm. And, it paid back handsomely!

Barclay Prime’s name caught on.

It was the new hype in town.

Everybody was talking about the $100 cheesesteak / marketing stunt…

USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets published pieces about the crazy sandwich.

In 2004, David Letterman invited Barclay’s executive chef to New York to cook him one on the Late Show.

In 2010, David Beckham had one when he was in town.

In 2013 it was mentioned in the book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger.

Many websites listed it among The Most Expensive Dishes in The World! (Even!)

This $100 cheesesteak ALONE accounted for a quarter of a million dollars in annual profits.

Its sales remain steady till today!

Speaking of today, our marketing hero, Wein, moved on to repeat his success with other restaurants, and he started his own consulting company.

Stephen Starr’s Barclay Prime still serves the ‘$120’ cheesesteak to date. (With extra additions, it goes up to $150!)

People still spread the word about ‘the over 100$ cheesesteak’ with selfies, tweets, shares, likes, reviews…

Praise for the $100 marketing stunt

Praise for the $100 marketing stunt

That's 14 years today of users' praise and comments.

That’s 14 years today of users’ praise and comments.

Barclay Prime is the luxurious restaurant to visit to prove your social worth!

Barclay Prime is the luxurious restaurant to visit to prove your social worth!

Flying colors praise in foursquare reviews!

Flying colors praise in foursquare reviews!

This is Guerilla Marketing Genius…

Read also: The 1-Page Marketing Plan Book Summary.

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