The 28-restaurant company has aired the first two videos in its first series of six, and is now contemplating the second series.
The series is called Cooking with Bruce and each video features Bruce Bozzi Jr., executive vice president and great grandson of one of the founders of the 85-year-old company.
The first features Bozzi’s uncle cooking one of the company’s classic dishes, chicken Parmesan, while explaining to his nephew how it’s made. In the second, Bozzi dines with TV host Andy Cohen, a Palm regular. The two chat about Andy’s favorite dishes while eating lunch.
Viewers can watch the webisodes on The Palm’s website or on YouTube and The Palm can track who’s watching them. At the end of the video, Bruce’s Twitter handle is displayed so hopefully he’ll be growing his 1,100-follower base.
The Palm is encouraging customers to watch in various ways. It has emailed the 100,000 members its loyalty club (The 837 Club) and informs them each time there’s a new one. There are also informational postcards in the restaurants, both at the maitre d’ stand and sometimes handed out by servers.
“We wanted to drive traffic to our website and we thought it would be a great way to let people know we are still a family business, which is one of our objectives in the past couple of years,” Bozzi says. “We recently [last fall] completed the refresh of our brand so we thought we’d continue the conversation.”
The Palm worked with a production company to develop the series. “We wanted the cooking to focus in on some Palm classics and we always highlight a wine which is an important component for our wine partners and a great opportunity to educate,” Bozzi explains. “And the lunches are also fun—celebrities and long-time customers,” Bozzi adds. “What I really like is that we are really eating. The food is not a backdrop. The food is important.”
The next four in the first series will include a lunch with Carole Radziwill of Real Housewives of New York, and three cooking segments featuring Shrimp Bruno, a classic Palm dish; three classic side dishes (grilled cheese mashed potatoes; string beans; Brussels sprouts); and a classic 16-ounce NY steak with a side of spinach.
The next will be launched at the end of this month then the remaining three will broadcast every two weeks or so.
The cooking demos feature real Palm chefs, which helps “introduce the back-of-house to our customers,” Bozzi says. And although each focuses on a classic Palm Dish, he says, “we’re not worried about giving away our secrets; we’ve been doing it for 87 years so there are no real secrets.”
Bozzi hopes that the series will also introduce customers to dishes they’re not aware of. “We are introducing them to sides—we just changed the recipe for the string beans—and we’re letting people who don’t eat meat know what we have.”
Putting together Cooking with Bruce has been fairly painless, Bozzi says.
The most difficult thing was finding the time to shoot the series, but the first series was all done in three days. “We’d set up by 5 a.m. and shot them from 6 to 9 a.m. so that was a little tough but we really try to be mindful of the business.”
The series was expensive to put together and there is no income from the webisodes despite the fact that each highlights a wine or spirit. These are simply wines that are chosen to educate customers, but they are always from the 100 wines that are mandatory on lists at each Palm restaurant (restaurants must carry 100 and the other wines they carry they select themselves) and with those producers with whom the company has a relationship.
The future of the webisodes is unlimited, Bozzi says.
“I definitely see it being long term. I kind of see it evolving. From a cooking a standpoint I’d love the Lunch with Bruce series to take off so I’m sitting with all kinds of different people—from a celebrity to one of our oldest customers or the guy who’s worked with us for 43 years.
“Because of our longevity, we’ve seen so much history. I’d like to see the webisodes show us as an Italian rooted family business. I think this is a really great and interesting way to put a face on The Palm. The webisodes could be a great platform for people to share their stories.”
By Amanda Baltazar
Read here about a series of webisodes that Denny's ran last year.