(By Rob Dumke) It’s been more than three decades since Nick Andrew opened the doors of his first restaurant, and from the beginning he has counted on radio to bring in the customers. In 1986 a patron of his first restaurant made a sign that still hangs over the door today: “Enter a stranger … Leave as a friend.” It’s that philosophy Andrew brings to the radio advertising messages that bring the customers through the doors of his five restaurants.
Radio Ink: Tell us about your restaurants.
Andrew: I have four in Chico and one in Folsom, which is about two hours south of Chico. Riley’s was the first one I opened, about 33 years ago. I was 23 years old when I opened it with Kevin Riley. It’s a college bar, right on “Frat Row” for the California State University, Chico campus.
I opened Franky’s with Kevin in 1992. It’s right across the street from Riley’s. It’s a family Italian restaurant featuring homemade recipes. Because of our location in a college town, we have an outside window that sells pizza by the slice until 2:30 a.m. The students love it!
The next one we opened, about 19 years ago, is the 5th Street Steakhouse. It’s downtown and one of the fanciest places in Chico. It’s a good old traditional steakhouse, with red leather booths, a lot of wood, and it has a very nice patio.
The fourth is LaSalle’s in downtown Chico. It is huge. It holds 600 people and has two giant patios. For 17 of the 20 years we’ve owned it, it was a nightclub that hosted live concerts with national acts. Well, it got a little crazy. Don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of fun, but we shut it down and remodeled it and changed the focus. We still have the large patios
and we feature live music, but now it’s emerging acts with a focus on jazz and blues. We made it into more of a familyfriendly place.
Our fifth place is Sutter Street Steakhouse, down the road in Folsom. It is just like the
steakhouse we have here in Chico.
Radio Ink: What radio stations do you use?
Andrew: We use all of the Results Radio Group Stations. [Adult Hits] KBQB-FM, 92.7 — the target audience there is moms, so it’s good for Franky’s. [Active Rock] KRQR-FM (Z-Rock 106.7) targets our Riley’s audience. [Rhythmic CHR] KCEZ-FM (Power 102.1) targets young women, but it kind of hits all of our customers. [Classic Rock] KTHU-FM (Thunder 100.7) is more of the male audience, but helps us with all of our restaurants.
Radio Ink: How long have you been using radio?
Andrew: I’ve been using radio since day one. I haven’t always been with Results Radio, but Zach Pederson and his crew get it — they are old Chico people. They understand when I’m trying to explain the target market I’m looking for. It’s really nice to have a great chemistry with these people because I can type something up, send it to them, and they nail it, almost every time, right out of the gate.
Now in Folsom, for Sutter Street Steakhouse, we do more online stuff, Google search engine things, and social media, because Folsom is a different type of market than Chico. We do that because there is so much radio in the Folsom area.
Radio Ink: How important is it for you to advertise on live, local radio?
Andrew: That’s a main reason I go with those four stations. What I like is they are part of the community. They know about local sports and high schools and they include a lot of communities in what they do. That’s important, because the thing about Chico is that there are only about 100,000 people here. The thing that is nice about it is that it’s still considered a town, even though it’s a city.
Radio Ink: In November 2018 you were right in the middle of the Camp Fire, the worst wildfire in California history. How did that impact you?
Andrew: Oh, my God, it was terrible. I lost so much in gross sales, but I won’t bitch about it. I didn’t lose my life, I didn’t lose my house. What others were going through was a hell of a lot worse than what I was going through. We opened our doors at LaSalle’s on Thanksgiving and fed, for free, about 250 people.
It was brutal. I employ about 280 people. The majority of them needed to be with their families, so I couldn’t even staff my restaurants. That was a tough time, but the town is coming back. Actually now, with more people in town in the aftermath of the fire, three of my places are doing great business. We are having some of the best sales we have seen in about 10 years.
The fire and the aftermath, however, showed how important radio is to a community. So many people were displaced, they didn’t have TV, so radio was the way they got information.
Radio Ink: What type of ads do you use to get your message out there?
Andrew: My message is community-type stuff. I try to get personal with the listener. For example, my wife, like so many other parents, gets in the car, turns on the radio, and runs the kids to school and sports and other activities. She’s in the car for an hour or so listening to the radio. It’s that type of situation where you know you have a listening base, and those are the people I want to reach with my message that we are part of Chico. I’m part of this community, I’m a working guy. I work at all of my restaurants. I look at it as a customer, not just the owner. That’s what I try to get across in my commercials.
Radio Ink: How do you know your message is getting out there?
Andrew: At Franky’s we decided to extend our Happy Hour on Monday, and I put that message out there — a lot. We ran plenty of ads about the extended Happy Hour. Now, Monday has become one of our best nights. I have to credit that growth to radio.
In my earlier years of radio I was sort of testing the waters. I would run something for about three months, and then I wouldn’t run it for three months. I would definitely see things change. There was a dropoff in business when I wasn’t on the radio. So I’m a true believer that you have to constantly be saying something or people will forget about you.
Radio Ink: What advice do you have for someone considering using radio?
Andrew: You have to realize that you can’t get them all, so you have to do
some baby steps at first to learn what your target market is. Once you zero in on that market, focus on it. The number one thing is to figure out what target you’re going after and then use gentle, humble pressure to get your message out. I really believe it works.
You can usually find Nick Andrew at one of his restaurants: Riley’s, Franky’s, LaSalle’s, or 5th Street Steakhouse, all in Chico, or Sutter Street Steakhouse in Folsom. Thanks to Zach Pederson and Results Radio for introducing us to Nick Andrew https://resultsradio.com