It’s not always easy to stand out from the crowd in the restaurant business, especially when that crowd is as jam-packed as they are in Las Vegas. But with passion and ingenuity, Smoked Burgers & BBQ has done just that.
I visited their restaurant on the Las Vegas strip when I attended the 2019 Nightclub & Bar Show. This trade show and conference steeped attendees in the current thoughts surrounding hospitality, and focused on the guest experience above all else.
“The customer’s experience is your reality,” stated William F. Orilio, Customer Service Expert and Owner of Hospitality Consultants.
"You've got to look at it like a consumer looks at it,” said Kyle Noonan, Founder and CEO of FreeRange Concepts, “You need to do something that makes consumers talk about you and be your voice."
“The only way we’re going to do big things is if we change things up!” exclaimed Sheryl Best, former Founder of The Mirage Hotel & Casino and current Director of Guest Relations at Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse.
So, with these sentiments in mind, I sought out places that were already ahead of the game—restaurants and bars whose guest experience exceeds expectations. I found that in Smoked Burgers & BBQ.
There was a great energy to this restaurant, and it felt warm and inviting. It had the ambiance of a fun uncle’s rec-room or a neighborhood tavern, but it was also lively and dynamic! Some TV screens were playing sports highlights while others were playing rock and roll music videos—exactly the kind of music you’d want for a hearty BBQ establishment like this.
Smoked Burgers & BBQ’s VP of Marketing and Sales, Joey Pintozzi, told me that the restaurant stands out from the crowd through its “WOW moments.” From the food to the service and everything in-between, Pintozzi’s goal is to wow guests. Having been wowed myself, I can confidently say that this goal was achieved—I can’t think of too many BBQ places that stood out to me like this before.
It could be that many locations of this type tend to feel generic. Good food and nice servers are pretty much what I’m expecting when I go out, but as a frequent restaurant-goer, a place only really stands out if they offer a different experience than others. And that’s what these “WOW moments,” as Pintozzi puts it, really are—differentiated experiences.
It all felt like a step above the average BBQ joint. The mounds of food fresh off the smoker, the warm and welcoming server, and the uninterrupted music with corresponding music videos for on-screen entertainment while we dinned was all remarkable.
From nightclubs to casual dining settings, Joey Pintozzi has a lot of experience in many different avenues of hospitality—over 20 years’ worth! Smoked Burgers & BBQ is just one of four venues that he and his partner, Ryan Klassen, currently run under their company, Hospitality Boulevard.
According to their website, the company’s goal is to “break the mold of traditional service to inspire the human spirit and to create unforgettable moments in people’s lives while enjoying delicious food and beverages.”
This sentiment is pretty much summed up in their mission statement: “Creating smiles one face at a time…”
So, what might sound like "just another restaurant" turned out to be a memorable experience, and it's no wonder. The little details that they focused on made all the difference!
Smoked Burgers & BBQ proved that you don't have to be a nightclub to use music videos. Some people think that music videos don't "fit" in a restaurant setting, but not only is that mentality outdated, it's immediately disproved from the moment you step into a place like this. And while I’m just as guilty as the next millennial of being glued to my phone, the modern atmosphere and overall vibe of the place kept me and my friends engaged in the food, drink, and our own conversations.
The difference between regular background music and quality music videos in your restaurant is the same as the difference between “rib special” and “St. Louis ribs with truffle mac n’ cheese” on the side—also something Smoked Burgers & BBQ has, and I totally recommend!
The next time you find yourself wandering the Las Vegas strip, be sure to check out Smoked Burgers & BBQ to see for yourself! It’s amazing the difference the right vibe can make.
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