Reading the News Receipt

While we live in the screen-age and tend to be surgically attached to some device at any given time, restaurants The Old Ebbitt Grill and its sister, The Hamilton, both in the heart of Washington D.C, are proving that there’s still an appetite for news well done and printed.

The Grill has introduced news receipts courtesy of editor Leland Schwartz, whose brainchild is Print Signal. One receipt prints a breakdown of the customer’s order and a separate receipt provides an update from the top dozen AP news stories, including the weather and stocks. Print Signal’s feed from the AP refreshes every two minutes. Customers, apparently, find the updates “compelling”.

t’s also not totally a new idea: 23 years ago, Schwartz introduced “The Latest News” as a newspaper printed every hour and handed out to airline passengers. On April 22nd The Latest News launches at The Palm restaurants in DC is a pre-cursor to take the news updates to New York, Boston, Chicago and all the 28 Palm locations, including Denver, Dallas, Houston, LA, San Diego and Miami. Also look for The Latest News at all 14 Clyde’s restaurants in DC. The plan is to move into the 50 state capitals and into the top 50 foreign capitals—or, as Schwartz puts it, a movement that would turn restaurant receipt machines into a “worldwide printing press.”

Frank Mankiewicz, former press secretary to Robert F. Kennedy, was one of the Washington journalists behind the idea. Despite print media naysayers, Mankiewicz held to his conviction that the news receipts would take off. He maintains a lifelong belief in the human connectivity to paper. The touch and feel is unique. It can’t be replicated.

As Steve Jobs said, creativity is all about connecting things. Connecting news and restaurant receipts sounds like a Lovemark to me.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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