Gina Barrera and Brian Tucker are changing the way you look at a deck of cards. Their new concept, called Foodie Cincy, is revolutionizing the way you experience the culinary scene in the Queen City.
Barrera explains the concept behind Foodie Cincy as a deck of 52 cars with each card representing a local, independently owned Cincinnati-area restaurant. Each restaurant card features all of the restaurant details including name and contact information as well as a restaurant and cuisine description.
“The card acts a $10 off discount at each eatery,” says Barrera. “For the Foodie Cincy user, it’s a fun incentive for the food lover to try new restaurants in their city. It’s also a good marketing tool for restaurants who want to focus on attracting experiential diners.”
Foodie Cincy launched during Winter 2013 with the Foodie Cincy 2014 Deck. It was quickly embraced by the Cincinnati dining scene and has been doing big things ever since.
By starting Foodie Cincy, Barrera and Tucker wanted to encourage and give diners incentive to choose local hen dining out, especially since the heart of local, independent restaurants are the diners that support them.
The husband and wife duo behind Foodie Cincy curate a restaurant list every year and design their own marketing materials. They’ve even braved 30-degree weather to sell Foodie Cincy decks at events. Barrera says she and her husband thrive on personable service to their restaurants and customers.
“All customer phone calls and emails come to Brian and our restaurants deal only with either me or Brian,” she explains. “We both split the 52 restaurants as clients of our own.”
By having more direct contact with customers and vendors, Barrera says that they can be much more relatable to the owners of these local businesses. “It shows our customers and restaurants our knowledge and personal interest in our mission and product,” she adds.
Foodie Cincy is a unique idea you won’t find anywhere else, Barrera says. “The program is an original product that not only spotlights some of Cincinnati’s favorite spots but also giving a feature on some of the new eateries that are making a splash on the local dining scene,” she explains.
Barrera says that Foodie Cincy tries to represent as many areas of the region as possible. So, when someone buys a deck there is bound to be a restaurant near them. “We also like to include as many menu price points and cuisine types as possible,” she adds.
Restaurants benefit from being a part of Foodie Cincy because they can attract a number of new diners that may venture out of their neighborhood just to try a new dish. Barrera adds that the number of decks available is limited so restaurants aren’t flooded with discount shoppers and restaurants get great exposure when Barrera and Tucker head out to local events to sell the decks in-person.
Foodie Cincy is a simple concept, which allows Barrera and Tucker to focus on the quality of the restaurants in the deck rather than the quantity. In order to keep Foodie Cincy a high-quality program, Barrera says that they don’t intend to expand the number of restaurants they feature or the amount of decks they sell. However, they’re always interested in expanding fundraising efforts. They event partner with local nonprofit and charitable groups who can sell Foodie Cincy decks for 50 percent profit on a consignment basis.
As for the future, Barrera says that they’ll be attending and selling decks at three new in-person events this year – Cincinnati Magazine’s “Best Of The City” party, The Crafty Supermarket’s Holiday Market and The City Flea.
Barrera says that her and Tucker would love to expand the fundraising program to more companies that are taking part in ArtsWave events, especially since they are artists themselves an also partnered with a local corporation on an event last year.
Additionally, Barrera adds that they want to expand fundraising efforts in the coming years and to even add some food trucks to the 2016 deck.
For now, however, you can enjoy 14 new restaurants in the 2015 deck, which can be purchased for $40 on their website.