The “news receipt” is breaking beyond the confines of Washington’s Old Ebbitt Grill. All fourteen of the locations in the Clyde’s Restaurant Group — including the namesake, 1789, The Tombs and The Hamilton — will be offering the service, in which diners receive a slip of receipt paper containing the latest dozen stories from the Associated Press, including weather and stocks.
“Really thrilled to death,” says Leland Schwartz, a former top official with States News Service and president and publisher of Print Signal Co., which runs the project. Now that all the properties in the Clyde’s Group will be adopting the receipts, says Schwartz, it’s “not an audition anymore.”
David Moran, managing director of the Old Ebbitt Grill and the Hamilton, tells the Erik Wemple Blog, “Immediately and overwhelmingly customers loved it.” The Old Ebbitt Grill, says Moran, serves between 3,000 and 4,000 guests a day, and Moran says a good number of them interact with the mini news sheet in quite observable ways. “If it had been crumpled up and left on the table or not talked about, we would never have expanded it to our other properties,” says Moran. “Tourists, especially, sort of love it.”
That’s all fine and well, but what about advertisers? According to Schwartz, Domtar, the paper company whose ad launched with the news receipt pilot back in January, remains on board for the expansion. “These are the same folks that are buying the bottom of the front page of the New York Times and the bottom bottom of the front page of the New York Times business section,” says Schwartz. When asked how much money he was getting from the ad proceeds, Schwartz responded, “It’s bigger than a breadbasket.” Schwartz formerly helmed the now-extinct* States News Service and was convicted in 2004 for “willful failure to pay withholding taxes and willful failure to pay corporation franchise taxes”; he paid the “full outstanding taxes, interest and penalties,” according to the D.C. office of attorney general. “We were burning to the ground in the newspaper recession, and I did everything I could to try to save it.”
There’s not much room to roam on the news receipt. Schwartz says they’re striving for “zero clutter” on the product, which is one reason why they’ve approached the Pernod Ricard company (créateurs de convivialité) with a proposal for a new, promotional title: “The Absolut Latest.” No verdict yet on the proposal, says Schwartz. The Erik Wemple Blog will stay on top of the progress of Schwartz’s “news receipt,” if for no reason other than that it’s a story of media innovation with no online component. How many such projects are out there? “Honest to god, I cannot think of one off the top of my head,” says Schwartz.
*The newsgathering service no longer exists, says Schwartz, but a data-collection side of the business continues.
————————————————–Friday, October 18, 2013————————————————–
PAGE ONE (AP) – Former House Speaker Tom Foley has died at 84.
PAGE TWO (AP) – Obama, Congress at odds over Iran sanctions relief .. No safe bets for Obama despite toned-down agenda.
NATIONAL (AP) – Commuter chaos in San Francisco area train strike .. NJ court says gay weddings can start Monday even as same-sex marriage case is appealed .. 2 killers registered as felons after their escape.
BUSINESS (AP) – S&P 500 pushes further into record territory .. Google stock crosses $1,000 mark after earnings.
INTERNATIONAL (AP) – Norwegian-Somali ID’d as Kenya mall attacker.
SPORTS (AP) – Red Sox beat Tigers 4-3 to take series lead.
MARKETS (AP) – Dow rose 23 pts to 15,393 as of 3:00. S&P up 9 at 1,742. Nasdaq up 44 at 3,907.
————————————————- DOMTAR PAPER CO.
Paper is good. Pass it on.