INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—If you expanded a restaurant chain into five locations, how would you differentiate each one? That’s a marketing question Scott Wise, president and CEO of Scotty’s Brewhouse, had to answer. Wise recently shared his business experience with Evening MBA students in marketing professor Kim Saxton’s course at the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis.
“In five different cities I’ve found that demographics are different from north side versus Broad Ripple versus downtown Indianapolis versus south side,” said Wise, who also owns locations in Muncie and Bloomington. “I think each one is a little different. When I went to Broad Ripple, we put in our brew pub and pizza place. I don’t know if I would’ve done the same concept on the west side of Indianapolis, for example. I might’ve done a brew house because I felt the demographic would fit better for that.”
Wise also shared social media marketing experience with the class, offering his thoughts on using website analytics as a tool to measure return on investment for that kind of marketing.
“Use those analytics to see who’s listening and who’s reading,” he said. “I use it in my company when our operations and marketing teams meet once a month. We plan out months in advance, deciding what our focus will be. For example, the holidays are coming up in December. So we determined our focus will be gift card sales, holiday catering and private party events within the restaurant. How do we market that in and out of the city? Which traditional advertising platforms do we use and what kind of social media marketing do we want to do?”
A marketing and public relations graduate of Ball State University, Wise opened his first Scotty’s Brewhouse in Muncie in 1996. Sixteen years and five locations later, Wise told Kelley MBA students how he chooses the social impact his business will have in philanthropy.
“Because the restaurant is named after me and it’s 100 percent influenced by my likes and dislikes—from interior design to what’s coming out of the kitchen–I’m very involved in every part of our operations,” Wise explained. “The same thing applies to our social conscience. The things we are involved in are things that mean something to me.
“Scotty’s supports cancer awareness because my grandmother had a double mastectomy. I think cancer is something that touches a lot of people. We give back to Riley Children’s Hospital because the cause is personal to me,” said the father of three. “I like to go to Riley and actually deliver the toys to the kids and see them smile.”
Wise advised the class that part of his business’s social conscience is giving back to the community that supports it.
“For our third annual downtown Thanksgiving dinner we’ll close the restaurant and, with employee volunteers, invite ministries and homeless shelters for lunch. We collect money for toys to give to kids and gift cards for the adults. I think it’s important to do something within our local communities to make a difference and to give back for all the support we receive.”
Having spoken to numerous Kelley classes over the years, Wise said he likes to interact with business students regarding his experiences.
“I like to share our story to people who might be interested in getting into something like this and don’t know much about it,” he said. “I like to say, maybe try this or consider this. I think it’s important to reach out and help.”
“I enjoyed Scott’s candid discussion of how his personality influences the business, how he perceives the restaurant in the local market, and how he undertakes corporate social responsibility initiatives,” said John Busenbark, an Evening MBA student studying finance. “He impressed the importance of providing for the community and being socially cognizant of the individuals who compose the ultimate consumer-base for his market.”
Wise likewise enjoyed speaking to Kelley Evening MBA students, many of whom work full time during the day and attend courses part time in the evening.
“I would say it was the best set of questions and the most interactive group that I’ve ever spoken in front of,” he remarked. “I knew they are people who work during the day and go to school at night. I knew they’d be motivated and would care.”