Not only is Daytona home to ‘The World’s Most Famous Beach,’ but it’s also home to some of the world’s most famous events, and businesses of all sizes have benefitted from their presence.
Few signature events are so well known that they don’t require a point of reference, but just say the names Bike Week or DAYTONA 500 and you have an audience who can pinpoint Daytona Beach on a map or tell you a story about the time they visited the area.
Since the first running of the Daytona 200 motorcycle race on the beach in 1937, Bike Week has been synonymous with Daytona. And it’s a tradition that pays dividends for area businesses.
But Bike Week is not just any signature event. It’s the area’s most profitable event, generating an estimated $75 million in revenue for businesses each March. Fast on its heels is Speedweeks, which generates an estimated $50 million in revenue. Combined, the two events drive more than 500,000 visitors to the Daytona Beach area each spring.
These two events alone are staples for business owners who count on the dollars spent by visitors drawn to fast cars and the thrill of racing.
There are many other important events that add to the economy and positive notoriety, like Jeep Beach, which raised over $500,000 in local philanthropy and even more for organizations outside the local area.
So, how do businesses in the area capture the consumer’s attention and maintain their loyalty year after year?
Location, Location, Location
Jenny Rice, general manager of 4 Rivers Smokehouse’s Daytona Beach location shares that since the opening of 4R Restaurant Group’s first location in 2009, the company has grown to 13 smokehouses across the state of Florida and is continuing to expand.
Rice credits much of the success of 4 Rivers Smokehouse’s Daytona Beach restaurant to its location at ONE DAYTONA, which is connected by a pedestrian overpass to the Daytona International Speedway and provides an all-access experience, from lodging and entertainment to shopping and eateries.
“Our proximity to The Speedway is an amazing location for our Smokehouse,” said Rice, attributing an estimated 60% of revenue at the location to in-store dining by guests coming into the smokehouse from nearby events in the community.
“The Speedway brings in guests from all over the state and country at multiple times during the year to experience 4Rivers. It gives us the chance to be in front of those new guests, some of whom are new to the area, and leads to long-term relationships. We love expanding our awareness in the community by participating in so many of the cool events that occur in the area,” she said.
Leveraging both established signature events and ONE DAYTONA’s unique seasonal events in addition to their philanthropic giving in the community, 4 Rivers Smokehouse has steadily increased their name recognition among consumers, positively impacting sales.
“The Art Festival is a perfect example of how ONE DAYTONA increased foot traffic during a non-peak time. The events continually bring community members and people from outside the area to our location,” said Rice.
“The Holiday Family event weekends are a favorite, such as Magic Night of Lights at the Speedway and Winter Wonderland on the weekends at ONE DAYTONA. They are not only fun to be a part of, but they both bring in different families over the course of the events.”
Good People: Staff Working In Tandem
Located directly across International Speedway Boulevard from the Daytona International Speedway itself, teamwork among the location’s 70 employees has made Hooters in Daytona Beach the number one store in the nation not only during Speedweeks but during Bike Week as well, according to Tim Baum, Vice President of Operations for Hooters of America.
“The only other store that can compare is Augusta during the Master’s, that sets record sales weeks as well,” said Baum, of the Daytona Beach store where 25% of the location’s annual sales are generated in the two month period between February and March, each year.
Working his way up from an hourly employee position in 1992, Baum has been with the organization for nearly 30 years. He’s seen a resurgence of the globally recognized brand and knows that while corporate-level executives make company-wide decisions, the ‘boots on the ground’ staff members execute as the heart and soul of Hooters by working as a team.
“Each year, we see not only new guests during these events, but we have guests that keep coming back year after year, which is a tribute to the team members in Daytona for the hospitality and service they provide to our guests,” he said.
“I never met a stranger,” says proprietor Renny Miles, and after more than 30 years in business, he means it. Many of those non-strangers have become lifelong customers. Miles has many NASCAR and bike teams frequent the Brickyard year after year. He even, on occasion, makes deliveries to the track…boosting a big sale day and spreading the Brickyard brand to all.
The Brickyard is a local’s spot, and when visitors come to town and stop in, they’re local too.
A fan favorite, the NASCAR-themed restaurant and lounge is ranked #6 on TripAdvisor out of 272 restaurants in Daytona Beach for good reason, and it’s not just the sirloin Angus hamburgers and wings.
Whether it’s a couple he hasn’t seen in two years who’ve stopped in for lunch, a 20-year regular like Bob Lloyd, general counsel for Brown & Brown, or former race car driver and actor Paul Newman, Miles welcomes all his guests like friends.
“This atmosphere and those burgers are impossible to beat,” shared Lloyd, a 20-year patron of the Brickyard.
With a knack for consistency, Miles is as genuine as they come, a quality his loyal patrons appreciate.
“Bike Week, Race Week, Spring Break and Motor Sports Week/DAYTONA 500, we depend on all of it,” he said. “It all makes the bottom line at the end of the year. I have seen the time when I didn’t need special events, and I’ve been here 32 years, but that’s not today. Today we need everything we can get.”