Bar & Restaurant Podcast 002: Melissa Anaya Eat Drink Creative Agency

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Fun in studio with Melissa. We talk about hobbies, life, trips, business and of course food. She brings a LOT of energy and passion to what she does and has been working in Social Media Marketing for years with an amazing track record of helping her clients. Feel the energy and enjoy the show ! EatDrinkAz Founder Melissa Anaya was born and raised in the Valley of the Sun, and her passion for food, dining, and hospitality shines through everything she does. Eat Drink AZ was cooked up as a way for Melissa to combine her passions, and she works exclusively with food and beverage brands in the Valley to serve up content and marketing strategies that leave their audience hungry for more. Find her on IG @eatdrinkaz Tik Tok @eatdrinkaz to learn about her Agency

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You’re listening to the bar and restaurant podcast where hospitality lovers come to listen and learn with expert David de Lorenzo. Now here’s your host the dlo

Delo 00:13
Welcome to another episode of the bar and restaurant podcast and today is an extra special episode because I have my good friend Melissa Anya here and Melissa owns Eat Drink. What does it eat? Drink agency? Yeah. Drink AZ drink creative agency. Yes, she’s very creative. And she you can always find her out and about on the town doing something creatively fun with food and beverage. And it’s exciting to have her here. Today a little bit break from the actual restaurant tours, but somebody that works with a lot of restaurant tours. So Melissa, I understand that you were born in Mesa. Yes. Good. Oh, Mesa, Arizona at old Mesa. How was growing up in Mesa and what was what was your childhood like?

Melissa 00:57
Oh, well, there wasn’t a lot going on, then. Yeah. I watched superstition springs mall go up off the 60 I watched the 60 being built. I remember driving with my mom and seeing kids on bikes riding the dirt freeway before they were laying down crazy.

Delo 01:16
Yeah. What did you ever like have, let’s just say aspirations to do something different than what you’re doing now. Like when you were a little girl kind of nothing. Remember, any of the past is the past. So funny. Yeah. And then your first job or maybe not your first job. But you had a job as a dance? instructor? Yeah, absolutely. Well, you Dig Dug some stuff up? Good. Yeah. I know. You’re a dancing machine. At least you were. Yeah. So that was cool. Do you still I mean, are you still into that? Oh,

Melissa 01:53
no. I mean, do like now the tick tock dances which are kind of fun. Every once in a while. There’ll be something where like an adult class for dance and just that probably just listening to music and stuff now. Okay.

Delo 02:07
Yeah. And then you basically just kind of had always had marketing in your blood is my assumption.

Melissa 02:13
Uh, no. Not at all. Not at all. That didn’t even happen till much later in life, which was crazy. I was a very young mom. So yeah, so two kids. I have two kids. Yeah, like and Madden. Just got to just graduate Blake just graduated from high school

Delo 02:30
isn’t crazy. Kid they graduate. I know. I know. Why you just turned 23 Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. Big birthday shoot. Yeah. So what were you doing before you got into the marketing aspect of things like what were some of your

Melissa 02:44
Ah, so before I got into marketing I was actually very very amazing. I was able to be a stay at home mom for a very long time and then the oh eight crash kind of hit and my ex husband was like you need to get a job. And so I kind of panicked and I googled and I said jobs you can grow within in Whole Foods is one of them. So that was kind of like my journey where I ended up meeting a lot of contacts one of my very first clients big big still biggest to this day came from there was Anheuser Busch Wow

Delo 03:14
Yeah. Wow. So Whole Foods How long did you work there

Melissa 03:18
therefore for two years consistently and then I did on call for a little bit like just they would let me work there like randomly when I would want after my divorce i would i was bartending I opened a bar called the perch and Chandler Yeah, they didn’t have any marketing going on. So I happen to be kind of good at my space then.

Delo 03:40
What what what was whole foods like that? That was just I mean, I know it had been around for a while. Yeah, right before been pre pre basis food. Yeah. What was it like like when you were there? I mean, was Whole Foods quiet has you know kitschy as it is now or mainstream? You know, very hippie hippie ish. Oh, yeah,

Melissa 03:59
totally. Totally green. So I mean, where sometimes I’m like, people have this like vision of like the way Whole Foods looked in the front and you would go through like the back and the aisles. Yeah, I feel like this place is filled with hippies just like it wasn’t even like organize the back look like like a party disaster went off. Yeah, it was crazy and totally different from what people like camp out in the back like, um, stuff because they didn’t have anywhere to live. Yeah, it was just it was just, it was very I remember one time I record it because I was a years old never believe the way Whole Foods looks in the back. Like, they’re just a bunch of like pot heads. Like they just kind of like it was crazy. That’s how I ended up meeting James from craft 64. He’s like, dude, all these kids smoke. No, he’s like, all these kids smoke weed. None of them are bartending correctly in the bar. And they would have full blown parties in the bar then. Like we’re talking 100 people in the bar.

Delo 04:48
This is free. COVID people. Free everything. Wow, that’s crazy. I went there yesterday and I was so excited that the fucking all the bar was open. I mean the little bar no the all of bar I could just scoop my petri dishes. Yeah, what? viral? Whatever.

Melissa 05:08
Yeah, the all of those cases, take those things and snaps on eat them. Yeah. Well, that’s great. Do you still shop at Whole Foods? Are you I do No, no, I do. I love the Tempe when I get excited about the grocery cart going out to the top by itself. So funny.

Delo 05:21
So so then Whole Foods, my assumption is you get done with that. And then you started something called jam seven media.

Melissa 05:27
Yep, yep. Yeah. Dead. Yeah. I’ve covered a lot of UFC then with my partner at the time. Yeah. So he was into broadcasting radio and his background was sports. And we ended up bringing back a promotion. It was called rage in the cage. And there was like one of the longest running roll buyers for that guy, one of the longest running MMA promotions and two twins bought it, and we were their marketing. That was our very well, yeah. First first client that we had.

Delo 05:58
Yeah. Wow. So there was no food involved in this. This was just Oh, it was for him. And yeah,

Melissa 06:06
yeah, red line athletics. So I did have a side job. I was ended up being a brand ambassador for Coca Cola. And then I was really good at Twitter and my space and ended up getting a UFC fighter involved. And Coca Cola ended up making me their field marketing manager for nos when they brought nos on board to all of Arizona. Star na, so the energy drink. Oh, yeah. rap star. No. So that is how I ended up getting our very first big with gig with a B and Bev is because I ran their entire drink program. So passing out nos for all of Arizona, ran their brand ambassadors, and then ended up getting Goose Island through ABN Bev when we launched our company,

Delo 06:53
and what would that consist of going out to events and passing stuff out? Yeah, we drank it and we get the documents stuff

Melissa 07:00
was so intense that the ABN Bev one was the craziest thing still I’ve ever done to this day, they hired us think they thought we are huge agency. And then you were supposed to fund things, the big big companies would be able to fund these drink programs, while we ended up not getting our checks until like much later. So all these young girls were like counting on this money and we had a back pay them and borrow and pull out loans. And I mean, we were setting out three to four brand ambassadors Thursday through Sunday, at six to seven different spots. Wow. For weeks. You can think of the money. All of their spends were 100 bucks, like everywhere, they would go total wine. All of those places.

Delo 07:42
Yeah. Wow. That’s crazy. Yeah. And so would you have like Polaroids back then? Or it just seems so easy. Now all the stuff. We can do quality, low quality, and now you can get instant gratification to the client based on how many likes follows. sort of stuff on there. That’s, that’s Yeah. All right. So then jam seven kind of you split with your partner. Yeah, some stuff happens and whatever. When did he drink AC come to.

Melissa 08:11
So first are very, my very first client was lost the ketose. And they ended up opening right next to Whole Foods we had lived next to Whole Foods. So I ended up walking in there meeting the owner. And then we just posted photos for clients didn’t really know anything about ads, and then ended up getting another food client. And just slowly over time, I was like, I’m not passionate about sports. Never really. I was going to like the biggest UFC fights Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, and I just, it was great. But I was just never really passionate or excited about it. And I loved doing the food thing. So ended up just splitting off and going straight into food, kept the sports brands for a little bit longer. And once I kind of added on more restaurants, I let all the sports people go and completely said this is I’m going straight on with food and bread. It’s the only thing I know, it’s the only thing I’m really passionate about working. I’ve worked in the industry. I was a bartender bar manager open the perch. I was like, this is it. Yeah, I’m good at social media. I’m like, I never went to college. And I was like, I have to find something that I can like grasp onto and and, you know, figure out in life.

Delo 09:18
Right? Right. So what is it that in the hospitality industry, restaurant industry, that is the attraction for you? Is it a combination of all these things, the the people, the owners, the personalities, the food, the creativity, all that sort of stuff?

Melissa 09:33
Yeah, I think it was probably stemming back from my childhood. We didn’t have a lot of money and so the only thing we did do is go out to eat every single Sunday religiously. So like my entire life still to this day. I even have stuff comped and traded out. I still spend so much money on like food. It’s like that’s all my mom still does every single Sunday like she goes out to eat. So like I just I fell in love with the industry and working in it and I always loved, I was great at what I did. I loved bartending, it was, I would bartend it for the rest of my life, I would have loved it and never had a complaint. Like I was always like, head into anything that I did with the industry. And then once I figured out social media, and I was like, Oh, I can do much more. And I thought about getting older, I thought about my feet, I thought of the old servers and bartenders that I would see that, you know, and I’m like, I don’t I couldn’t picture myself not saying that you’re stuck. I just didn’t see that life for me. And I knew my body was gonna break down and I was just trying to find another avenue within the food industry that I could prosper on. Is that

Delo 10:34
when you start working out spin classes. Yeah, outdoor Yeah, exactly. I mean, that’s good. Because you you do with hold the balance, like, you know, when you talk to foodies, you know, and people that don’t know you and just see you, you know, through social media just make this assumption that you just go out and gouge yourself and don’t do yeah, shit, but you’re very focused on you know, health and wellness and taking care of yourself and living that as a role model even even to your kids. Right.

Melissa 11:02
Oh, huge. wholefoods was a huge part of that. I don’t even know food was bad for you till I work there. They had a great program that they would send you through I was like, wait, if I like really dial in on anything. I’m like bringing in my own dirt that’s organic and like growing my own stuff and, and air filter systems because everything’s bad for you like you started like panicking because you realize how crazy stuff was. So yeah, I mean, a huge part of that mean, yes, I eat it. Yes, I love going out to eat. But at home, we really are conscious with what we eat for sure.

Delo 11:31
So you would say your life’s got a really good balance of enjoying yourself but also pumping the brakes when you need to. Back into Oh, yeah. Can you feel it? You definitely feel it. Yeah, no, that’s cool. Um, let’s talk social media. It’s such a I mean, it’s just such a loose ended term. You know, it’s social media. So when you say that term, a lot of people you know, kinda like when you say insurance, people’s eyes glaze over. They’re like, yeah, okay, another one of these. Yeah. What What is it that you want to explain in the aspect of your definition of social media? What does it mean?

Melissa 12:04
What have been? Well, what it means for us is results pretty much getting results for our clients. And without those it’s a To me, it doesn’t really benefit our clients at all.

Delo 12:15
If somebody is not on social media, would you say that that’s almost in this day and age like not a deathwish? But I mean, a lack of awareness.

Melissa 12:26
Yes, I mean, I’ve seen people do it completely successful. Like you still have those people like word of mouth like concepts or places where I’m just like, holy crap, this place is thriving and they don’t even have an Instagram but they’ll have some sort of something else like there’s a sushi place. One of my favorite sushi places sushi Holic and I was like, Oh my god, how have I never found this place? Not an Instagram but they’re hardcore on Yelp. Right so like they go head head in with dialing in on that are some people still have huge I met this influencer 500,000 followers, but it’s on Facebook before like Facebook is dead. Like it just I think that you just have different elements of wherever you’re strong at to,

Delo 13:06
I think that’s, you know, that that’s something definitely to think about. And to put out there is that there’s so many different channels or avenues that people can take, and you don’t necessarily have to be, you know, the best at all of them. It’s like pick which one that you really love or the few and then kind of work those now. We’ve seen an uptick in tech talk recently. Yeah. And I know that you’ve taken a liking to that along with, you know, one of your co workers, Chelsea. So how has that been working out for you guys, as of recent is a fire

Melissa 13:38
fire like obsessed? I think every when it came out, I think it changed. It changed a lot of things about social media brands. The one thing that I think the biggest that we see on tik tok is that people, they’re getting rid of the fakeness. And I don’t mean by fakeness, as in your followers are fake or stuff like that. I mean, people are connecting with who you are. They’re old people. 80 years old, working out with like, a million followers, because they’re connecting with them at plus size women in bathing suits. Like, you’re just able to finally connect with people and get rid of the boozy fake shit, that you see the perfectly posed photos. Like, let’s just connect with the people and I love that about Tick Tock love it.

Delo 14:26
Yeah, cuz I mean, it’s interesting, because people’s attention span is about, you know, 15 seconds in that and that’s what tic Tock videos, most of them are in that point. And so instead of just kind of a snapshot of what you would assume would be the person’s personality, which doesn’t always come into play. Even though a picture can be 1000 words, you don’t really know what those words are their way you interpret in that aspect. And so when you’re looking at Tick tock, if you at least have 15 seconds of somebody’s personality in the way that they are, you can find that sort of attraction and and then they collectively would builds up on your other media outlets as well. What I’ve been noticing is that with successful tik tok it does bleed into Instagram for sure. Yeah.

Melissa 15:06
Oh yeah, our followers are funneling in from like, I’ll get messages all the time I found you on tik tok. The cool thing is too is that Instagram, you had to find you obviously it became such a huge pay to play platform that they had to find you through ads like what we do, they had to find you through hashtags. organically possibly. Someone tagging you sharing your Instagram because it was so great. tik tok just like opened the floodgates and was like, let let you be found that you know, if you got a viral video, let’s show it to the freakin world. I mean, my my kid I’ve never had in all the years of doing Instagram, my kid, I did a viral Tiktok at the princess. Her whole High School is like I saw you on tik tok. I was like, What? Even your receptionist was like, hey, were my kids sees your stuff. You know she’s in it’s not just I hate even using that. It’s not for kids anymore. That same mantra that people had with Facebook and then to Instagram. It’s so old that is not just for young folks, for all the old people now.

Delo 16:06
It’s kind of funny, because we all grew up. Yeah, having that. Now, would you say for a restaurant that you know, does a tick tock video and has something viral that more times than not it’ll it could constitute to sales.

Melissa 16:20
Oh, huge. We’ve sold out restaurants. So yeah, we’ve actually had people we had a, this was kind of a funny story. So Chelsea did this tic toc for the Prats, they were like, come out and do it was a huge, huge viral Tiktok. They’re like, come out and we want to shoot your Christmas. Come shoot our Christmas, we have the best Christmas lights display. Well, it went so viral that the cops had to be called in order to direct traffic. They were like our neighbors are pissed. Like you have to like, can you please take this down and she’s like, I can’t part of the TIC Tock creator program, I cannot take this down. So they were going through responding to everyone being like, hey, these are the times We’re shutting like the lights down. But even concepts restaurants I get, I get messages now versus before on people saying your Tiktok sold us out for like the last three days. were booked on reservations. Even the clients that we do and for we can watch their reservations go up. Now that we’re managing their social media and we do a tick tock for them. We’re able to track that like in their obviously their POS system and every so

Delo 17:23
so really the return on investment with what you do is absolutely amazing. Yep. And it’s instant. Yeah, no, that’s, that’s really cool. So besides Tick tock, which we’re talking about what what else, you know, drives traffic to people’s restaurants like what are other cool things that they can do? Yeah, you can help them with?

Melissa 17:42
Absolutely. So obviously, having great social media presence, I think even now, it’s almost like I’ve never seen more abandoned Instagrams, with COVID all go in the restaurant can still be open, but their last post was prior. They’re doing stories, but the person doesn’t know like, hey, are we open, keeping just even your Instagram a little bit consistent, featuring just some of your top items. It doesn’t have to be all of your items, maybe just some of your top items. stories I always tell restaurants are the easiest things that you can do keep your Instagram alive. Maybe you don’t have time to post you don’t have a social media agency or employee helping you out. Put at least one post up a week. Yeah. And run stories so that people can at least watch those since we are changing the way we watch social since it’s going this way. Not this way anymore.

Delo 18:32
Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, most people are watching stories that is crazy. are do you find yourself now that you’ve been doing this for a while and you’re out there and your followership is going up? Do you find yourself walking around in the streets and people being like, hey, it’s that chick?

Melissa 18:45
Yeah, yeah, it’s really weird. Yeah. Right. It’s, it’s and it’s like, you know, it’s like a small local town, you know, because I’m from here. So it feels so weird. Like this other this girl that I just met at 36 below ended up coming up to me, and she was like, I follow you. And I was like, Oh, my God, I was like, take a picture with me. Like, let me follow you back. Like, my I follow so many people, because I’ll like, just follow you back and snap photos. And I’m like, You’re the reason why I’m here. You’re the reason why I make money because my influence leads into my agency and, and vice versa. Like, I support anyone and I talk to anyone that comes up to me. So yeah, yeah, I just I love talking to people.

Delo 19:23
That’s cool. Well, tell us a little bit about your, your media agency. And that started

Melissa 19:30
Yeah, so I mean, I started so I’ve always done marketing is the thing that I don’t think people really understood or knew. So did that. And then I used to go knocking on doors and calling restaurants and they were like, get in line with shamrock get in line with Cisco. We don’t know who you are. Yeah. So I had a camera and I wasn’t afraid to use it. And I started getting on camera producing my own stuff and getting my name out there and running ads what I knew I was good at and built my influence over the last three years and I told myself when I got to a certain point is when I’m going to market my agency, I wanted to be trusted first, so that people just didn’t think that I was going for the sale of getting them as a client on the agency side. And we have room for both. So even these restaurants that jump on board, you don’t have to, you know, go with the agency side, I have my influence to help you out as well. You know, rate starting where any restaurant can afford them. Yeah, so for me, it’s just a big circle a win win. No matter what restaurant or bar brewery I work with.

Delo 20:29
That’s very Yeah, very cool. Do you have plans to open a restaurant?

Melissa 20:33
You know, I’ve always thought about it and putting my, my money where my mouth is, and using all the marketing and everything that I’ve ever pitched and being like, this is exactly like full blown. What I’ve pitched you guys but everything you should be doing instead of pieces of it. And full fledge one day.

Delo 20:49
So more to come on. Yeah, that’s what I what what is it about? Let’s just say I mean, obviously restaurants you have that love and that passion. I mean, but you do marketing for some other types of businesses as well. Don’t you

Melissa 21:04
know, mean? No, just restaurant. Yeah, I have. I do have one salon and one spa, but they’ve been with me forever. And they’re very good friends of mine now like restaurants. Yeah. They’re the ones that do my hair, all that stuff. So and they’re great friends of mine, the Ashley method and the glow method. But other than that they have to be food and beverage related somehow even like earn your booze even though it’s not a restaurant. It’s still food and Bev related somehow, some way which falls into everything. If you think about it. Yeah. Right. Is there food or drink involved?

Delo 21:35
Well, I can. I certainly appreciate and understand, you know, niching yourself because at the end of the day, that’s, you know, that’s absolutely. It’s taking a leap of faith into what you do. And when people see that they’re more confident as opposed to other agencies that may, you know, do a little bit of everything. Understand the food niche as much as somebody that just does that. Yeah, so that’s that’s definitely huge. What about on your off time? What do you like to do?

Melissa 21:59
Oh, well, of course, so Well, now that my oldest is out and about I never see them anymore. When I can grab Blake we go out to eat. Usually Madden is my sidekick. He’s my boy in my life. Yeah, he’s wanting to do what mom does. And he goes with me and he loves it. He has a little Instagram page to Madden eats and I take him the weeks that I have them and we go explore and do things. If it’s my time. You can find me at spin hardcore at the Madison. I don’t even I have no like promotion with them. I just I truly love the Madison EDM vibe. And I go out to eat. I’m usually at Evo, like my neighborhood Scott. Good all day.

Delo 22:42
Yeah, that’s awesome. Okay, so I got some questions for you see what you think? Yeah. Would you rather hit the nude beach or do a triathlon? The nude beach? Would you rather eat tacos or hamburgers? tacos? figured Would you rather go camping or hang out in Vegas? hang out in Vegas? diello. breakfast or dinner? Dinner? Okay. Aliens or Bigfoot? aliens. That’s good. Yeah. What about Would you rather take a road trip with your kids? Or would you rather go on a romantic retreat to Hawaii road trip with my kids all day long. So I figured Star Wars or Star Trek Star Wars good that’s a good tool or Keith Urban tool. Very good. And then last but not least, I wanted to ask you if you Oh no, it’s not that bad. Um, would you rather have a kick to the face or one of the knee the knee the knee? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. We can shoot the camera from here up right well, I just asked that because your your background and you know MMA you probably saw you know I think kneecap oh my god painful. Well, that’s cool. Well, I appreciate you hanging out with us for this half hour. I wanted to everybody they get to know you and I wanted to get something released. What working everybody find you and what are all your call signs and all that sort of stuff. She’s a prostitute. My bad. What are your handles?

Melissa 24:31
Oh I love that. Eat Drink AZ if you want really cool places to eat and drink and I just don’t tore Phoenix. I do all of Arizona. So no matter where you’re going, Flagstaff Tucson, it’s all there. And then if you’re a restaurant you’re looking for some social media help you can check out all the clients we work with and we will connect you more than happy to connect you with any of them. You can talk to them on your own at Eat Drink creative agency.

Delo 24:58
Yeah. And she if you find On Facebook, LinkedIn, tick tock, and Instagram literally takes seconds for her to respond to almost all messages. Yeah. Pretty crazy and pretty cool. So anyways, thank you, Melissa. Yeah, so awesome to have you here. And And for the record, Melissa does stuff for my personal brand which is ad I am the diello and she’s doing a kick ass job and she’s absolutely right. Those Tick Tock videos are really coming into fruition. We’re having fun doing local eats healthy series. So I’m excited about all that and what we’ve been working on. So I’m a huge advocate of her and what she’s doing and they do get results. I can personally, you know, vibe for him. So, thank you for listening. We appreciate it at the bar and restaurant podcast, please follow the podcast if you get a chance and give me a five star because it’s really cool. Makes me feel good. And yeah, until next time, peace out.

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