AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerMaking the Chef the Star, Not the Restaurant

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Making the Chef the Star, Not the Restaurant

It’s the food. It’s the product. It’s our service.

Most organizations do not promote their stars. They promote their food, product or services. However, it seems so obvious for football teams, basketball teams, television anchor teams, TV shows, movies …

But when it comes to business, no star is born. This is especially true for restaurants. Most restaurants spend too much time on the theme, menu or ambiance. Those are all important, but the star can rise above all that and provide a personal experience with the organization.

In Las Vegas, where there are an overabundance of restaurants and new concepts, the chef is starting to take more center stage in the marketing.


Stars humanize the back of the house and provide confidence that what is prepared is truly special. Starification of your talent provides a unique identity, personality and builds trust in the brand. Stars give us something to talk about in our shares and posts.

Car dealers try to make stars of the owners. Again, the idea is to build trust through familiarity. So why not make a star of your employees?  The upside could be delicious.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.