Archive for ‘COMM 296’

March 23, 2011

Foodbook: Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen Dim Sum (Richmond)

Hey Everyone,

Today’s going to be a short post (in terms of words that is).  Have you ever spent mindless hours flipping through Facebook photos? What I think might be more addicting is mindless hours of flipping through pictures of FOOD.  So this is the first part in a series called: FoodBook.  I hope to emulate, that part of marketing (showing pictures of food) doesn’t just mean grabbing attention, but making sure the attention lasts.

Shanghainese Dim Sum!

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**Note: These are all pictures from when my friends and I ordered WAY too much dim sum
Chen's Shanghai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

March 22, 2011

Bella Gelateria – Twitter Gelato Master

Hey Everyone,

I thought I just take a moment to recognize the effective use of social media in the foodie world, by taking a look at Bella Gelateria. Bella Gelateria is an amazing gelato shop,  seving truly amazing gelato near the Waterfront station downtown.  (I’ve been to Italy before, and his gelato is quite comparable, if not better than the ones in Italy).

What’s more intriguing is that James, the “gelato-master” and owner of Bella Gelateria tweets almost non-stop about his new, original gelato flavour creations. What I like about his tweets, is that his passion for gelato truly shows.

I’ve noticed that tweets by other confectionary shops are mostly plug-ins for vaious promotions & special prices of their products. While these tweets are informative, they get lost in the way of what I think Twitter,  can communicate to followers on a personal level.  In my opinion, the authenticity, the drive of the company can establish a more meaningful connections with its followers.

Here are some example’s of James’ tweets:

Apple sorbetto in mixer – just hand peeled 45 Nova Scotia Gravenstein apples – love the Arc of Taste movement in Italy – 8 hours ago

Good morning Vancouver & beyond – Spring is here so taking a few minutes to enjoy the day before peeling mangos – 10 hours ago

Chocoholics beware – making a batch of DARK DANGEROUS & Naughty 85% Noir Chocolate gelato – a hit you will not forget!!! – Mar 20

It’s easy to see how gelato is so special to James. Notice how he doesn’t elaborate on anything but the gelato. No plug-ins of promotions or anything, yet it still communicates value to the consumer, because it’s that much more personal.

Effective social media? Yes, I think so.

******In the future, I would love to see James have a blog outlining his day making gelato. From picking the ingredients by hand, to churning the gelato and selling it on display. I would definitely read that!
Bella Gelateria: Old-World Handcrafted Gelato on Urbanspoon

March 11, 2011

Dear Subway $5 Footlong, meet $3 Vietnamese Sub

Hey Everyone,

It’s back to foodie-time. One of my all-time favorite snacks is the Vietnamese Sub. Now what is a Vietnamese Sub, you may ask? Well it is a sandwich with these following components

1. A fresh, crunchy French baguette
2. Pate
3. Shredded pickled vegetables (usually daikon, carrots & cucumber)
4. Various Vietnamese deli meats
5. Mayo-butter
6. Maggi Sauce (Fish Sauce)
7. Cilantro

If you haven’t tried a Vietnamese Sandwich, I suggest you go try one! This Asian sandwich combines the most simple ingredients to create amazing myriad of flavours & textures.  You can get Vietnamese subs at some pho restaurants or Vietnamese delis. I suggest Ba Le or Tung Hing Bakery both located on Kingsway.

The reason why I am comparing Subway’s $5 footlong promotion, is because everyone says that it is so cheap and great value. To some extent, I agree because $5 can barely buy a full & satisfying lunch.

$5 Footlong ... not that great of a deal

However, these Viet Subs usually cost as little as $2.50 -$3.50 (incl. tax!) and they taste fresher, different and are just as filling as a subway footlong.

So dear Subway, meet Vietnamese Sub. Meet  non-processed, freshly-prepared, non-chain produced, authentic sandwich for almost half your price.

In terms of pricing strategies in terms of competitors (Ch. 13!), Subway better watch out if Vietnamese Sandwiches becomes just as popular and well-known as Subway Sandwiches.

March 8, 2011

Ernst & Young’s Your World Your Vision Competition 2011

I’m deviating away from the foodie-focus of this blog to some of my other interests. In Sauder, there’s a lot of great opportunities to get involved in competitions and build real-life, practical skills.

I wanted to talk about this competition that I have been a part of, and what a great experience it has been so far.

In November or so, I entered a competition hosted by Ernst & Young, called Your World, Your Vision.

This competition focuses on the E&Y’s three pillars: education, entrepreneurship and environment. Teams from various business faculties and schools across North America compete for a chance to win $10,000 to implement their own community initiative which integrates one, two or all three of E&Y’s pillars.  Teams compete by submitting a proposal to the panel of judges, however, only one team is allowed to represent their school.

I’m happy to say that a group of my close friends and I successfully competed for the chance to represent UBC and now we are waiting for the final announcement of winners (hopefuly in mid-March). Our initiative? We plan on educating high school students in the Vancouver School Board District about the benefits of composting through a video competition where they can win a composting system for their school.

I recently read a article that outlined how E&Y is one of top companies to recruit university students into their firm. E&Y’s Your World Your Vision is mentioned in the article as one of its “key college recruiting accomplishments”: Best Practices in Recruiting – ERE Excellence Awards 2010

So how does this relate to marketing?

Well, I feel that not only companies market their products or services. I feel that in order for a company to be successful, they’ve got to market themselves as well as company that people want to be a part of. A company is made up of people, and they are the driving force of the company’s success. It feel like E&Y has done all the right things, especially with this competition, and there’s more: Ernst & Young’s Summer Leadership Program now renamed the Emerging Leaders Program, is another way for university’s students to have more exposure to E&Y as a potential firm to work for.

February 24, 2011

Misleading Advertising: A reply to Jordon Being a Business Student’s Post

Stephanie here.

I cam across a one of my fellow classmates earlier blog posts, and I would like to make a comment to it.

Here’s the link! (  in Jordon mentioned that he visited the UBC McDonalds and realized that this McDonalds was not participating in the free sample biscuit giveaway. Jordon didn’t mention much about his experience, but since I was there also, I’d like to go more in-depth, because I realized that this also was a classic, this was a classic bait & switch marketing.

Free Biscuits! (Actually NOT)

Though I do not agree with this marketing technique of “bait & switch”, here’s why I think it works & why it’s so effective:

1. The “Bait & Switch” is still very effective. Example: A couple of our friends (including Jordon) joined the line-up up to get McDonald’s, but when he realized that there were no free biscuits, he remained in the line-up to get somethings else (Bacon Egg McMuffin, if I remember correctly?). He wasn’t the only one, once people in the line-up realized that the biscuits were a no-go, about 2/3 of the people still remained in the line! That’s pretty effective if you ask me.

Reasoning? I guess it has to do with people’s perception of sunk cost and timing & convenience.
-If people were waiting in the line & they were hungry they would probably still stay in the lineup because they would’ve already spent a good amount of time waiting for that free biscuit. This makes people feel that if they don’t buy something, their time is wasted, so the “bait & switch method” is another way for people to recover the sunk cost of preparing themselves for something free.

2. People will spend more to get something free. We ran into a couple of friends that were planning on risking being late for class by taking the 99 bus to to McDonald’s on Broadway, just so they could get the free biscuits. (Oh, and they also waited in line and still bought breakfast at the UBC McDonalds.)

Oh UBC McDonalds .. you fail ...

All in all, I kind of predicted that UBC McDonalds would not participate in this promotion, much like most of the franchises on campus (Starbucks, A&W, Subway), which I do not agree with … but that will be another post coming .

February 16, 2011

Part 1 of 2: A blog rating another blog

One of my favorite foodie blogs are &

I’ve been hooked on reading for about over a year now, and I think I’ll explain how communicates so much value (markets) its blog to a reader like me.

Sherman’s blog is number 1 on Urbanspoon’s Vancouver blog leader board, and I think the reason for this is how he markets his posts and positions his blog as a place to find reliable restaurant reviews.

Sherman updates his blog consistently often. Unlike some local blogs that post every couple of days, Sherman never disappoints his readers by ensuring that there is a brand new post everyday.

Sherman has a personal touch. I notice that every post he starts with he reveals a little bit about his daily life and doesn’t dive straight into rating food. His personal connection to the world attracts loyal readers (such as myself!)

Sherman’s actual content is reliable trustworthy. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when people post comments about an experience they had at a restaurant, but I know for a fact, that they restaurant is completely different. I’ve tried a number of restaurants that Sherman has blogged about, and each of my experience has been consistent with Sherman’s even down to the specific dishes of the restaurant.

Sherman’s posts are brief, yet clear, not long-winded, the pictures are just the right size.  In terms of marketing, I think Sherman has it down pretty well.

February 9, 2011

Food Brogs vs. Those Comments on Urbanspoon

How do you evaluate a potential restaurant to eat at?

Ask a friend? Look Online? Take your chances and just go eat there? In marketing, word of mouth is the most effective way.

When you’re browsing for a place to eat online, using websites such as Urbanspoon Vancouver or Yelp, how many of you read reviews of customers who have eaten there? Do any of you read “foodie blogs”? (Comment if you do!)

One concept of social media that is becoming increasingly popular is to evaluate restaurants by blogging in detail about the restaurant. It’s like talking to a friend about his/her experience at a restaurant. Take for example and In my opinion they are 2 of the best food blogs in Vancouver for evaluating potential restaurants. In my next two posts, I’ll evaluate why these two blogs are so popular.

But for now, I’ll discuss why restaurant reviews by customers just aren’t cutting it for some people, while foodie blogs by local Vancouver foodies are meeting reader’s needs.

Customer’s reviews sometimes can be inconsistent, inaccurate, and have no substantial information to offer. If you’re looking for a good place to eat, you want to find reliable information. Frankly, since it’s so easy to post a comment, people can post whatever they want and it will go through.

Foodie blogs include a lot more detail, such as pictures of the restaurant setting, the menu, as well as close-up pictures of every food. Sometimes, food blogs give prices, and rate the overall service and food. Most food blogs are pretty reputable for the quality of their ratings. Foodie bloggers are real people who know what they are talking about, but they don’t have the air of a restaurant food critic from a pretentious food magazine.

In my opinion, food blogs are becoming a powerful marketing tool for restaurants that is becoming just as powerful as word of mouth. Reading a food blog is like talking to a friend – a friend that has a detailed memory of every restaurant visited in Vancouver, and gives reliable recommendations.

February 3, 2011

$10.95 Late Night All You Can Eat Sushi at Tomokazu

Note: Tomokazu has raised it’s the late night special to $12.95.

Apparently the concept of eating unlimited sushi until the buttons on your jeans burst is great marketing (at least in Vancouver).

Tomokau - One of the better AYCE restaurants in Vancouver

There are over 20 AYCE

japanese restaurants in metro Vancouver on Urbanspoon. It seems the concept of ordering 20+ dishes for a set price is very popular in Vancouver. I, myself have eaten AYCE sushi many, many, many, many times in the past. Maybe 15-20 times in my lifetime? (How many times have you eaten AYCE sushi? Leave a comment!)

In my opinion, there are so many ways that AYCE sushi communicates value in comparison to other restaurants offering a set price for unlimited food (E.g. Uncle Willy’s, Hotel Vancouver, Indian buffets). According to urbanspoon, 6 out of the top 10 buffet restaurants in Vancouver are AYCE Japanese restaurants ( Not one of those restaurants are fancy hotel buffets (e.g. Griffins)

either. Surprising huh?

From my 19+ years experience of dining out at AYCE Japanese restaurants, there are a few things that I see about AYCE sushi that helps it market itself well.

  • Able to target different consumer tastes/segments: AYCE offers of sushi, sashimi, noodles, salad, cooked meats, cooked fish, rice, BBQ items, soup etc. Even if you don’t like raw food, there’s still a lot of choices
  • Better customer service: AYCE isn’t slapped on your plate like a cafeteria, or is sitting overcooked in a warmer for 4+ hours (ahem, Uncle Willy’s). It’s mostly made-to-order and served by servers who actually take your order like a real restaurant.
  • Pricing is more afforable: AYCE lunches usually cost around $10-$13 for lunch. The Sunday brunch buffet at the Pan Pacific hotel costs $50.
  • Suits demographics: There is a high Asian population in Vancouver, and most Asians, when they’re dining out, tend to stick to Asian restaurants. At AYCE Japanese restaurants, there’s Asians everywhere eating . (at least in my experience).
January 27, 2011

This is why you’re fat.

The website is a website dedicated to showcasing obscene, heart-attack inducin


g pictures of food. Deep-fried oreos, bacon cheeseburgers sandwiched in between pieces of fried chicken and chocolate-covered bacon are some of the real food creations, which can be submitted by anyone on the internet.

Images taken from

According to the New York Daily News, has generated over 10 million views since 2009, and each photo generates anywhere from 10-100 user comments. The founder of the website, Richard Blakeley calls his website a collection of “junk-food porn”. His website has become so popular that Richard Blakely is now selling a book based on this “junk-food porn” called “This is why you’re fat. Where dreams become heart attacks.”

In my opinion, is clear example of shoc


k-value marketing. As repulsive & horrifying you might find these photos, you can’t help but click on the link and browse through the website for other shocking photos. The title is shocking, the pictures are shocking. First-time visitors to the website can’t help but remember how crazy (bacon spam footballs anyone?) these photos are and people can’t help but share this ridiculous website with their friends or the rest of the world.


For me, I couldn’t help but blog about it. thisiswhyyou

rfat = shock-value marketing.


January 18, 2011

Joyeaux Cafe

You place your order up front, and receive a number card for your food

Around 12 noon. The place was jam packed. Line up went out the door.

Mango Milkshake $5. 5/5. Awesome. It was like drinking fresh pureed mangoes.

Lemon-grass Chicken $8. 4/5. Good overall, rice was a bit mushy. Chicken was moist & flavourful, but a bit stringy.

Beef Ball & Rare Steak Pho. Good, not the best. Anything hot on a rainy Vancouver day is good.

Lemon-grass Chicken on Vermicelli.

Banh Mi. $4 A bit pricier than normal subs, but a good snack.

Stephanie here.

Where am I?
Joyeaux Cafe

Joyeaux Cafe is an establishment in the heart of downtown (right across from Pacific Centre) specializing in Vietnamese cuisine.  Though they have your typical pho & lemongrass chicken, they do offer items such as fresh tropical fruit milkshakes (durian!), and I noticed some western breakfast items on their menu as well.  This restaurant is rated pretty highly on urbanspoon, and it’s easy to see why.  This place serves good-tasting,  fresh food at cheap prices (for a downtown restaurant), great service,  and it’s a 2 minute walk outside your office if you work downtown. Furthermore, it’s the only Vietnamese joint in downtown, and who doesn’t love hot pho on rainy Vancouver day? When I visited with a group of my classmates, this place was jam packed with people lining up out the door. However the food came out surprisingly quick, given that it was the lunch rush. There is not a lot of space in the restaurant, so people are either sharing tables or eating crammed together.    With the high cost of rent, being located in the downtown core, you’d think that Joyeaux Cafe is crazy charging such reasonable prices for quite large portions of food (you pay up front first, so you don’t even have to pay for tip!), but the secret here is the high turnover of tables. Tables are turned extremely fast, as people eat a quick lunch and then go back to work or have take-out.   Joyeaux Cafe isn’t really catered to the tourist crowd, but relies on regulars (downtown workers) to eat there everyday.

So how does my experience at Joyeaux Cafe relate to marketing? Well I’d say Joyeaux Cafe has done a pretty good job of covering the 4P’s

Product: Fresh (Asian), decent food =Mmmmm.. good
Price: A meal under $10 = AWESOME
Place: Downtown =  Packed but convenient!
Promotion: Word of mouth is powerful = Was recommended this place by some E&Y associates.

House Special Pho

It’s not a surprise that this place is always busy while the cafe next door is almost empty.  As a poorstarvingstudent, I’d recommend this place; for the price of a Japadog, you can get pretty much an entire meal at Joyeaux Cafe. Enough said.
Joyeaux Cafe & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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