Travelers Inn video taps into the cold
At least one local business has capitalized on the bitter cold.
In a Facebook video that has drawn more than 37,000 views as of 2;30 p.m. Wednesday, Patrick Sieve, third-generation owner of Travelers Inn Restaurant, dons a gray hoodie and a New Jersey accent to promise discounts based on actual air temperature.
"How ya doin'? How ya doin'?" Sieve says in the video that got airtime on a St. Cloud radio station Wednesday morning. "Say listen, here's what we're doin' down at Travelers Inn this week, OK?"
The deal: All week, diners at Traveler's could take a screenshot of the actual air temperature and claim that figure as a discount on their meals.
"None of this wind chill stuff — the actual air temperature," he says. "If it's 31 degrees below zero, if it's 35 degrees below zero, guess what — bada bing bada bing — you're getting 35 percent off, 31 percent off, 28 percent off, whatever it is degrees below zero you're getting a percentage off."
Sieve does a lightning-fast job of calculating off-camera on what sounds like a cash register. At 31 degrees below zero, on a $28 bill, he says that's a savings of $8.60.
"Ah, is it worth it?" he asks. "Ah, probably not. Fair chance you're gonna die. But what are we supposed to do, sit in our house the rest of the week? Get outta here!"
Sieve said he came up with the idea after hearing that school was going to be canceled for two days.
"This place was going to be a wash unless we did something drastic," he said.
He modeled his character on the film "Jersey Boys."
Did it work?
Apparently so. Wednesday morning, the restaurant was a quarter to half full, he said, and the average discount was 30-31 percent off. Customers were mostly younger, many of them families with young children, and about 75 percent of them were aware of the discount.
While one person commented on his Facebook feed that the restaurant should stay closed so employees could stay home, others pointed out that employees might need the money.
Sieve wasn't expecting people to drive there from Glenwood or Ottertail, but he welcomed customers who might live within a few miles and who might want something to do.
"Now you can start your car from the living room, and everybody's got phones," he said. "I know it's dangerous, but it's not as dangerous as it used to be."
Still, he wasn't completely oblivious to the cold. Traveler's was planning to close early, at 2 p.m. Wednesday.