Hot, Fast, Cheap, and Local

Otherwise known as a flaming success, the Flaming Amy’s brand has made quite the name for itself in Wilmington. The Amy’s family enterprise offers two diverse dining experiences under one brand. The Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn is housed in an actual barn shaped building offering an eclectic and funky vibe with its sticker covered windows and doors and mismatched frames  lining the walls. But if Tex-Mex isn’t your thing, no worries! You can head on over to the Burrito Barn’s sister and enjoy a taste of non-traditional Mongolian stir fry at Flaming Amy’s Bowl.

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The Bowl and Barn share more than just their laid back and liberal atmospheres. Since they opened their doors in 2000 the two restaurants have garnered fans and local awards, with the Burrito Barn even making it as one of 64 contenders in FiveThirtyEight’s “Search for America’s Best Burrito.” Self-proclaimed as “hot, fast, cheap and easy,” the family behind the Amy’s enterprise has successfully marketed their brand to the local community.The Wilmington community in turn has responded by becoming an active part of their IMC strategy. Locals are quick to send any visitors or newcomers in town in the direction of either Flaming Amy’s restaurant,  implementing word of mouth marketing to  increase the already well known brand.

Diners enjoy lunch at Flaming Amy's Bowl in Wilmington, NC on Sunday, July 13, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette Flaming Amy's Bowl is locally-owned by Amy and Jay Muxworthy. It is an Asian stir fry restaurant with an emphasis on friendly staff, great cooks, and a comfortable atmosphere.

And in the word of the Flaming Amy brand itself:

“Always remember and never forget… EAT AT FLAMING AMY’S!”

Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is a type of marketing that is the most ethical and one of the most valuable ways a company can market. WOMM allows customers to have a voice which in turn will give the company an opportunity to listen to customer’s needs and realize that a happy customer is their greatest endorsement. Conversation creation is a marketing tactic that companies use to gain people’s attention, this can be done through interesting or fun advertisements, catchphrases or emails.  Flaming Amy’s utilizes conversation creation through their FAB and Eat at Flaming Amy’s stickers. These stickers can be seen throughout the Wilmington community; on cars, laptops, notebooks and other items you would put a sticker. Conversation creation marketing targets a small group of people which will then influence a large group of people. This type of marketing is an inexpensive way that can produce big results.

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The Flaming Amy’s Brand has successfully created a loyal audience and customer base with it’s marketing communication efforts. We have all seen the stickers all over town, and it’s always exciting.

By Aki Suzuki, Carrie Poniewaz, Carey Shetterley, Lexie Trimnal, June Wilkinson

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12 thoughts on “Hot, Fast, Cheap, and Local

  1. I agree, Flaming Amy’s is a wonderful example of WOMM. It amazes me how many people suggested it to me when I was a freshman at UNCW and did not know the good places to grab a bite yet. The friendly atmosphere and options make it a perfect place to eat with friends regardless of what you’re hungry for!

  2. When I first got to Wilmington, people kept talking about Flaming Amy’s and how good it was. I did not understand what all the fuss was about until I tried it. It was so great. I have never been and not enjoyed it! When my friends and I want a really good burrito, we always hit up Flaming Amy’s. It’s so good, we all even got stickers to put on out laptops to help market for them.

  3. Flaming Amy’s is a perfect example of WOMM. We are constantly bombarded by ads whether it is on TV, on the computer, on apps on our phones, or even just driving around the community. When advertising is done improperly or in excess it can actually sometimes turn away prospective customers. I think Flaming Amy’s WOMM is extremely effective. Even in my own experience, the first time I had ever heard of Flaming Amy’s was when another UNCW student told me I needed to go there. The way that Flaming Amy’s markets itself through its consumers makes it so that it is something unique that UNCW students and Wilmington residents share, and that is exactly why I think it is so successful.

  4. You were right on in this article. I just moved to Wilmington in August. Besides the beaches, and Cape Fear River, the first thing I noticed was all the “eat at Flaming Amy’s” bumper stickers on every other car. Of course, like any curious person would, I asked some with a sticker on their car what Flaming Amy’s was. I didn’t just get “a burrito place” as the answer either. I got a long, drawn-out, passionate explanation about their food and atmosphere. I was sold on it before I ever even ate there; now that’s Word of Mouth Marketing as it’s finest!

  5. Flaming Amy’s does an excellent job of getting their name out there! When I first moved here, not only did I see their stickers everywhere I went but I heard people talking about it quite often. I love Mexican food and look forward to trying Flaming Amy’s sometime soon!

  6. Flaming Amy’s definitely does rely on WOMM to get their brand out and customers in! I know that’s how I heard about Flaming Amy’s when I moved down here. I actually tried it for the first time last week, and it definitely lived up to the hype. I love how unique each restaurant is with their design and flare making it a cool experience to dine in.

  7. I’m so glad the IMC class is writing about restaurants in Wilmington. I have lived here for two years now and have not yet begun to fully explore the variety of food the city has to offer. I have, however, been to Flaming Amy’s Bowl many times. The brand has definitely maintained a loyal following with the bumper stickers especially. Also, Flaming Amy’s Bowl is a bit hidden and took a frequent goer to show me where it was and what to do once I got inside. Amazing food!

  8. As a Wilmington native I can fully speak to the idea that they rely o WOM marketing, I have been there well over a hundred times in my life, and there are few times when I have not ran into someone I know. In addition they seemingly stick to their brand, employees at both locations seem to have a particular vibe or style which has always intrigued me. They have very few employees without tattoos, fun hair, or big gauges. One thing that I saw recently in regards to “the bowl” is that they are beginning to franchise locations, this excites me because it is always fun to see something from your hometown have success in another part of the country. In addition, I work at a hotel and scarcely go a week without having a guest ask me how to get to Flaming Amy’s, along with P.T’s burgers and Indochine they are truly a staple of Wilmington North Carolina.

  9. Word of mouth marketing is definitely how I became aware of Flaming Amy’s when I moved to Wilmington. I see at least one FAB or Eat at Flaming Amy’s stickers every day – whether on someone’s water bottle, laptop, or car.
    Their WOMM even takes it a step further during Thanksgiving season: One year ago was the first time I heard a friend talk about the Flaming Amy’s “legendary” Churkeychanga, a deep fried tortilla burrito, or rather, chimiganga stuffed with turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing served with jalapeño gravy and cranberry salsa. I had never seen it advertised on the menu or their Facebook page, which is why I sadly missed it that year. This year though, I will give it a try; if it is anything close to the taste of their regular burritos, I will be in turkey heaven!

  10. Although i have never been here, this blog just made me want to go more.When I am hungry, nothing sounds better than when it’s “hot, fast, cheap, and easy.” I love the idea of having the place built in a barn shaped building. The off looking pink and yellow colors actually don’t ruin the appetite and make the building very inviting. All around it looks like a great place to get a burrito and spend an afternoon with some friends.

  11. I love Flaming Amy’s! I never really thought about the marketing of Flaming Amy’s. I now realize that I’ve never really heard any radio commercials or seen any commercials on tv. The seem to rely mainly on WOMM. I’ve never actually been to Flaming Amy’s bowl because I have heard very little people talk about it.

  12. I was interested to learn that Flaming Amy’s was once at Carolina Beach a number of years ago. They closed that business and reopened here in Wilmington. Now that the Flaming Amy’s brand has enough awareness and a slew of loyal customers, they are trying again with a beach location. The owners have prospered from word of mouth marketing. They have created their own niche; dining here is an experience, from the decor, bumper stickers and overall dining concept. This success opens the doors for more franchise locations.

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