July 30, 2014
Did you know that Fazoli’s lets seniors play bridge on Wednesday afternoons from 2-5 at their participating restaurants? I presume that the players stay on for dinner at 5. What a great idea for promoting bridge by making it visible—and targeting a potentially huge market. Seniors who play bridge, like to meet and play and eat, but don’t want to cook.
Wednesday is traditionally slow day at restaurants, lunch is over by 2 – why not use the empty restaurant for playing bridge and thereby guarantee eight or more dinner customers by 5? It is not too different from Bistro Bridge at the Blue Parrot I wrote about in the last chapter of my bridge book. In that case it was a local bar, and again, Wednesday was slow night and bridge played—with kibitzing and watching from those at the bar as I remember.
But the potential is even more than that. The Fazoli story, could be a model for any chain restaurant – breakfast and bridge at McDonalds, lunch and bridge at Olive Garden, bridge at TGIF’s bar in the evenings. Doesn’t just have to be for “seniors” as Fazoli’s appears to be.
One quote in the source for this story (NewsOn6 out of Tulsa, Oklahoma) puzzled me—“Fazoli’s will offer members of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL), the nation’s largest bridge league . . . a free Italian lemon Ice . . . .” Why not be as welcoming to any bridge club—unaffiliated social clubs or ACBL clubs?
Of course, I immediately emailed Mr. John McCauley who had sent out the release to the media about bridge playing at their restaurants as to the existence of the two bridge worlds—social and serious. We may be a bit more difficult to contact than ACBL clubs, but the word could easily go out through organized senior centers as a start.
Oh, the potential! Bridge Clubs—social or serious—could have fliers handy to give to any curious diners as to what we’re doing. It’s exactly the kind of creative marketing that the ACBL should consider doing. Perhaps they are responsible for this Fazoli thing??
I do already attend a Wednesday bridge lunch club held at various local restaurants, and know of others who do the same. Making space available for playing bridge at a restaurant (instead of home or in a condominium common area) is an idea whose time has come. I looked it up and, unfortunately, there’s just one Fazoli’s in Florida – in Tallahassee.
Perhaps Mr. McCauley will check out Florida, where the number of bridge players is probably amongst highest in the nation, and soon we too will have a Fazoli’s here on the Space Coast.