We had the good fortune of connecting with Terri Henry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Terri, are you self-funded or investor funded? If you could start over, would you make the same choice?
I launched terri henry marketing LLC after a 20+ year corporate career in the restaurant marketing arena, I left a job I absolutely loved as VP of Marketing for a national restaurant company – Grill Concepts – that I’d held for 12 years. Although I loved the job, I was commuting up to four hours a day, and it was fine while I was single, but when I met my now husband, I decided that life was too short to spend so much of it in bumper to bumper traffic. I also realized that if I was him I wouldn’t want to be married to someone that was spending so much time commuting! My husband was actually my biggest supporter, encouraging me to go out on my own, so I made the leap with my own limited funding. What I was pleasantly surprised to find was that because of my so many years already doing restaurant marketing, I’d developed an entire network of contacts that were suppliers to the restaurant industry, whether it was liquor or food suppliers, media outlets, etc., that worked with other restaurants, Based on our existing relationship, these contacts referred these restaurant owners to me when they needed help with a grand opening, or ongoing marketing or PR. Ironically, the only thing I would have done differently is not included my own name in the name of the business!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
terri henry marketing LLC works with restaurants, chefs and specialty food and beverage companies to provide marketing and public relations services, menu engineering and social media management. I pride myself on coming up with out-of-the-box ideas and initiatives that get noticed by the media and that position my clients in a positive light and ultimately puts “butts in seats”, increasing sales and guest counts. It’s not easy at times, but I love a challenge! Of course, I’ve made a TON of mistakes, that primarily started with not trusting my gut feeling on one thing or another, but I’ve learned from that too. I probably do more services for free than I should, but I love what I do so much it really doesn’t seem like a job most of the time. terri henry marketing LLC also organizes the annual CANstruction Long Beach event, a friendly competition in which teams of architectural and engineering firms design and build 10′ x 10′ x 10′ structures out of canned goods. The structures are on display for 10 days, then dismantled and donated to Food Finders, a local food rescue organization, for distribution to agencies that service the food insecure in our community. I’m proud to say that since the first event in 2014, the events have resulted in an over 100,000 lb. donation to Food Finders! For more information visit www.canstructionlongbeach.org. I’m also working on starting a non-profit called Long Beach Food & Beverage, where I’m putting together a team of restaurant industry experts to offer zero cost consulting to Long Beach restaurant owners. For more information visit www.lbfoodandbeverage.org.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love to show out of town visitors my Long Beach! Of course, a visit to the Queen Mary is a given, and if I have a visitor in May, Long Beach Pride would be on the agenda. Not so much a Grand Prix fan (sorry!). Coffee at Long Beach Coffee & Tea, and places to eat include Restauration, Bebot, Berlin Bistro, The Attic and The Crooked Duck. Cocktails at The Stave, The Federal Bar (and its underground speakeasy Parlour) or Blind Donkey. I also would encourage the visitor to take a food or cocktail tour organized by Beach City Food Tours. An indie film at The Art Theatre would also be on the schedule, as well as a visit to MADE by Millworks, a gift shop/art gallery that features creations by local artists and artisans. MADE also features a unique beer/wine bar called Elinor behind the gallery space.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My former boss and CEO at Grill Concepts, Bob Spivak, has been a fantastic mentor, both when I was working with him and continues to be now years later after going out on my own. He’s only a phone call away when I need to bounce an idea off of him. He has since retired from the company, but continues as a independent consultant for restaurants across the country. One of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my career is walk into his office and tell him I was resigning from my position with the company!
Erin Yuen for headshot only.