TOUGH PR CALL: GOLDEN OX AND WALMART

JohnLandsberg
May 9th, 2012
Golden Ox

   Sometimes Public Relations decisions can be complicated.  
   You make the call on this one.  
   You are the PR person for the Golden Ox, one of Kansas City’s landmark restaurants and a downtown fixture since 1949.
   Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, says it wants to come in and substitute your world-famous steaks for theirs and film customers’ reactions.
   On the one hand, your restaurant will be featured in ads across the country. It will certainly increase your restaurant’s exposure.
   On the other hand, you know that only those customers who rave about the Walmart steaks will be included in the commercials. Walmart is not exactly known for its gourmet meats.
   “It at least gets the name of the restaurant out, but indicating that the restaurant serves Walmart steaks casts a shadow on the hand-cut black angus steaks served at the Golden Ox,” notes a veteran PR professional.
   It’s a tough call.  The Golden Ox decided on the exposure. 
   Would you make that decision?

11 Responses

  1. Gary Foster says:

    Had I been a customer I would have demanded my money back. No kidding. I expect better than Wal-Mart meat. Of course, The Golden Ox left me with an unforgettable experience about ten years ago that made me decide to never return even though I used to love the place and went once a week for years. This was really stupid of them because if they would allow this why would I ever give them another chance!? My call is this was beyond dumb. It pegs them as low class.

  2. BillthePainter says:

    I’m pretty picky about my steaks and have had some pretty bad ones at restaurants before. It’s always a disappointment when I know MY steaks taste better than the one I am served.

    I will say that I have purchased some awesome T-bones at Sam’s Club. They are thick, fresh and taste awesome!

    I wonder if these Walmart steaks come from the same place. If so, then I’m not surprised they are decent hunks of meat.

    You also have to remember, the chef and preparation have a lot to do with the taste of the steak. I would imagine the Chefs at Golden Ox are pretty good at it by now.

    Most people won’t be able to replicate the taste at home…..

  3. Pat Carlson says:

    The point of the commercial is, “Our steaks are as good as those served at the Golden Ox.” The Golden Ox get exposure as a top notch restaurant.

    But for others, like me, the message is, “Golden Ox steaks are only as good as Wal-Mart steaks!?!”

    So, I say no to switching steaks at a steakhouse. If you want to switch the coffee at a steakhouse, fine.

  4. Ryan Crowell says:

    These were NOT regular Golden Ox customers. They were invited to an invitation only event at the Golden Ox on a Thursday night in early April and were told a new menu was being tested. They weren’t normal customers of the Golden Ox, it was put on by a company in St. Louis. I received an invite to attend but couldn’t. I didn’t know what it was until after the event and saw the commercial. I wondered myself what kind of message it sent for the Golden Ox, but I will say I have bought many steaks from Wal-Mart and have been a regular customer of Golden Ox as well.

  5. Slappy White says:

    I find it hilarious that anyone would turn their nose up at a steak purchased at Walmart. Food snobbery at its highest.

  6. Kyle Rohde says:

    A tough call indeed. Given that it’s the most famous steakhouse in KC, I think it could get away with this, especially if they ensured the people who got “tricked” went home happy with vouchers to come back for a real Golden Ox meal. The place could sure use some publicity.

  7. ricckky says:

    I worked at the Golden Ox in Denver back in the 60′s. In fact I was the manager. We aged our USDA PRIME beef 120 days. Then cut to order daily and nightly. I guess I was confused about the so called “new steaks from Walmart” It was not aged beef–It was as we call in the business green meat. It was tough as shoe leather and with little or no marbling. I consider this false advertising and would drop the ad campaign asap.

  8. Heather McMichael says:

    Cross-selling. Oldest marketing trick in the book. We’re talking about it so if their goal was to generate “buzz” about a Kansas City legacy restaurant-they achieved that goal. When I first saw the commecial I couldn’t believe my eyes:I thought it was a joke. Do Walmart shoppers eat at high dollar steak houses? I don’t know the demographics. But not being a fan of Walmart, this commercial would not entice me to eat at the Golden Ox. Walmart is synonmous with value;Golden Ox is known for its’s rich history and legacy as a place to dine for superior steaks.I don’t see the two complementing each other at all. If I thought my steak was the quality of Walmart steaks, I wouldn’t be happy. I applaud Golden Ox for the “reality style” commercial and trying to stay current. Time will tell.

  9. Bill Teel says:

    Let me weigh in with the Golden Ox perspective. We may be a well known, historic steakhouse, but we are, in fact, a small business with a somewhat limited PR reach. This commercial was a take-off on the old Folger’s coffee commercials where Folger’s instant coffee was substituted for the regular coffee at some famous restaurant. The people who came to eat that night were told they would be part of a special taste testing and ate for free. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the experience. The commercial, and the Golden Ox name, has now been seen on national TV for several weeks. We are featured on Walmart’s facebook, which has 15,000,000 followers. The restaurant’s facebook has 800 followers. The negative response has been negligible and the positive response has been overwhelming. From our standpoint this has been a PR coup. We would do it again in a heartbeat.

    • JohnLandsberg says:

      Thanks for providing your feedback on the story.
      There is no doubt the commercials will give your restaurant great exposure. The trick now is whether that exposure will enhance the Golden Ox brand and attract more people to your restaurant.
      Feel free to update us on the story.

  10. Ron says:

    This ad campaign is retarded. Of course a Wal-Mart steak is going to taste good at a nice steakhouse. Generally speaking, nice steakhouses usually hire people who can cook well. This is a good advertisement for the skills of the chefs, not the quality of meat. Ask soul food cooks about this. They make some of the tastiest dishes out of the grossest parts of animals. Wal-Mart ad FAIL!

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