Tommy Li knows the restaurant business is very tough. Finding the right combination of good people, a great atmosphere and of course great food is how you stay competitive. He believes he has hit on the right combination and he is using radio sell it; even during these crazy times.
Radio Ink: Crazy Chicken is certainly a name people can remember. How did you come up with that?
Li-The many different types of restaurants I’ve owned offered a wide variety of food choices. I came up with a chicken tender recipe that was always one of the favorites on the menu. I thought, out of all of my recipes, those tenders were a favorite. It was crazy.
Radio Ink: Tell us about your different restaurant experiences.
Li-I started out with a Chinese buffet style restaurant. A big selection of Chinese food specialties that I remember growing up with and learning how to make. That was a lot of work. I decided to do away with the buffet and just focus on the popular items and several American type dishes. We became a traditional table service restaurant.
We had several TV’s at the bar and people would come in, watch sports, and order food at the bar. I saw how that was popular so I made a big decision to change the restaurant into the Crazy Chicken Sports Grille.
Radio Ink: That’s a lot of changes, a lot of re-branding. How did radio fit into your plans?
Li- We have a great location, just south of Akron, Ohio, a very short distance from the interstate exit. There are other restaurants nearby, but they don’t offer the type of food we do; especially our chicken tenders. I wanted people to know about our tenders and how we were no longer a Chinese restaurant, so I talked to some people who were familiar with radio. I had some ideas to promote the tenders and I took them to a couple of radio stations. I’m actually on the spots that talk about how our tenders are different. I have an easy line. I just say – “That’s Crazy!”.
Radio Ink: What radio stations do you use?
Li-I am on WNIR, a locally owned News/Talk station and WONE a locally owned Classic Rock Station. People tell me they have heard me on the commercials and that makes me happy.
Radio Ink: What is it about radio that you like?
Li-Hearing is a very natural thing. People pay attention to things they hear, especially if it is a bit different from anything else. People can hear about my restaurant and food in their car, at home or if they are listening at work. The ear and the ability to hear and understand things is one of the most amazing human traits. That’s why I like radio.
Radio Ink: This is a very challenging time for businesses and for radio. I’m sure it’s also a very challenging time for you with some family still in China. How are you coping?
Li-My family is in a part of China that hasn’t been that affected by the virus. They are all doing fine and they tell me things are starting to calm down there.
As far as business goes; its really been slow with the closings of bars and restaurants and limiting everything to take out only. We are offering family style specials on what we are known for, our chicken tenders. That is what my radio ads are talking about and what I’m posting on social media. I come into work each day and with one other employee we are getting by for now. I’m looking forward to when things will get back to normal. We all need to be safe, so this can be over. Yes, these are crazy times.
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