82 Year-old Traveling Super Fan Sparks a Successful Franchise Wide Passport Program at Black Bear Diner

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Customer-inspired Passport Program Eclipses More Than 2,100 Requests in Three Months

Dick Waterman celebrates his arrival at the Black Bear Diner in Sequim, OR. Photo courtesy of Matthew Nash, Sequim Gazette.

Dick Waterman celebrates his arrival at the Black Bear Diner in Sequim, OR. Photo courtesy of Matthew Nash, Sequim Gazette.

“We were only anticipating 1,000 requests through the remainder of the year,” continued Doty. “But our fans far exceeded our expectations. We’re thrilled and humbled to have so many loyal Black Bear Diner customers.”

Dick Waterman, 82, may be retired, but he is the visionary and inspiration behind Black Bear Diner’s most successful fan engagement program. Black Bear Diner, a family dining franchise concept featuring excellent food and value served in a bear-themed atmosphere, announced today that they have eclipsed more than 2,100 requests for passport booklets since launching the Black Bear Diner Passport Program three months ago. The program is designed to rally and reward brand loyalists who explore new Black Bear Diner restaurants across the country.

Waterman, a retired electronics salesman, first discovered Black Bear Diner in Bend, OR. Impressed with the “great food, genuine service, and homey environment”, Waterman vowed to seek out other Black Bear Diners. After the passing of his wife, and wanting to stay pre-occupied, he responded to a classified ad for a vehicle test driver; he was selected. Waterman recognized that this was his opportunity to visit different Black Bear Diner restaurants. Since then, he has visited every single location. He most recently visited the Sequim, OR location, and is set to visit the soon-to-be opened locations in Fremont, CA and Pleasanton, CA.

“I met Dick in Las Vegas after he had visited 47 of our restaurants and was blown away by his story and his brand loyalty. He was the textbook definition of a ‘super fan.’ I shared it with other franchisees and they were telling me that they also knew of similar people who planned vacations around Black Bear Diners,” said David Doty, vice president of marketing for Black Bear Diner. “That’s when a passport program really got on our radar as a fan engagement and brand loyalist strategy.”

The new Passport Program was imagined, and Black Bear Diner began rolling it out in July of this year. In the first two weeks, Black Bear Diner received more than 1,000 requests for hard copy passport booklets.

“We were only anticipating 1,000 requests through the remainder of the year,” continued Doty. “But our fans far exceeded our expectations. We’re thrilled and humbled to have so many loyal Black Bear Diner customers.”

Requesting the passport booklet is simple, easy, and free. After signing up for the program and requesting a booklet at http://blackbeardiner.com/passport, passport holders bring it to their visiting Black Bear Diner for a stamp. After visiting the pre-determined number of stores indicated in the passport, passport holders authenticate their stamp codes on the website and earn prizes the more they visit other locations. For smartphone users, the passport stamp and authentication can happen via a QR code.

Asked about being the visionary and inspiration for the franchise’s passport program, Waterman stated, “It’s pretty neat and I’m happy to be a part of it. I’m glad to see that there are so many other people out there who love Black Bear Diner as much as I do! They really make you feel like you’re part of a special family every time you visit.”

About Black Bear Diner
Founded in Mt. Shasta, California in 1995 by Bruce Dean and partners Bob and Laurie Manley, Black Bear Diner was born from a desire to bring home-style comfort food classics and personal service back to the dining experience. This family dining franchise concept offers a vast menu anchored on hearty portions and excellent value. The franchise organization has grown to 59 locations in eight states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Utah. Black Bear Diner was recognized as one of the Top 10 Franchise Deals in 2012 by Restaurant Management Magazine. To learn more visit http://www.blackbeardiner.com.

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Jairo Moncada
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