Bret Oliverio's Sup Dogs goes viral AGAIN

Chris Lingebach
October 23, 2018 - 1:56 pm
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Bret Oliverio's Sup Dogs restaurant in Greenville, North Carolina has gone viral again!

The longtime former Junkies producer turned restaurateur shared the story of his latest viral sensation with his old radio pals on Tuesday morning.

As two unassuming customers walked into Sup Dogs on Friday at 4 p.m., little did Alaina Custer know she was about to serve water to a YouTube star and get the biggest tip of her life.

"This guy comes up to me," Oliverio said on 106.7 The Fan. "He's like, 'Look. We're about to do something crazy. I need a server to bring us two waters and a couple menus right now.' And I've heard about a guy going around and doing some stuff like this in Greenville, so it sort of clicked in the back of my mind, like, this is what's gonna happen. She's gonna get a big-ass tip.

"I just said, 'Hey, Alaina. You've got to take Table 4.' So they ordered two waters. They started sipping their waters, looking over the menu, and then they just rolled out the front door. And I'm like, 'Can you go check on your table? They just got up and left.' And she walked over there and there was a stack about three inches high of $100 bills.

"He left a $10,000 tip."

"It was like the tiniest camera at the table next to 'em. Nobody could see it," Oliverio said. "And like, the thing about these YouTube videos, they're not like staged. There's no real production value. What they want to do is leave a $10,000 tip after ordering two waters and catch her reaction. That was it. They didn't care about angles or how it sounded or looks."

As for Custer's reaction, she's probably a better person than most.

"She's like, 'Bret, what's going on here?' She thought it was a joke and started shaking," Oliverio said. "But what I thought was cool... her first instinct was like, 'I can't accept this. We've got to split this up.'"

While this one fell into his lap, Oliverio has a keen sense of what makes viral content and uses Sup Dogs' social media accounts, and his firm grasp of each platform, to promote the restaurant on a national stage.

This week's viral story was covered by CBS News, Inside Edition, The Today Show and Yahoo. It appeared on the front page of Snapchat – ahem, between the latest Kevin Hart and Kim Kardashian gossip – and the Sup Dogs banners were plastered on the homepage of ESPN.com.

In July, one of his "Sup Pups" went viral on Reddit, the "front page of the internet," for a smartly dressed photo in front of a sign hanging inside the restaurant. That was Kylie, and she happened to be wearing a Sup Dogs shirt promoting the restaurant's annual spring bash, "Doggie Jams." That's marketing you can't buy.

Viral marketing runs through the heart of Sup Dogs, so much so, that even its clientele have become knowing contributors. In June, the ECUBarstool Instagram account posted a video of a female Sups customer savoring some bacon cheese fries dipped in ranch, as a nearby couple made out behind her. "There are two different types of girls @supdogsrestaurant," the caption reads.

That video circled around the internet for days, generating nearly a million-and-a-half views in free advertising.

Man..this video took over the internet------

A post shared by ------- Snapchat: SupDogsSnaps (@supdogsrestaurant) on

The business prospers not merely because of its owner's propensity to deliver viral marketing. Great food – ranked 21st on Business Insider's "40 best hot-dog joints in America" – that's also affordable to college students is its bedrock for success. Oliverio also takes great care in the quality of employees he hires, finding good, passionate people who he empowers to carry the brand when he's away.

This is the story. Bret Oliverio fearlessly began his new life seven years ago, took the time to learn the business inside and out, and adapted his knowledge of modern media to his business strategy.

Seven years after founder Derek Oliverio's tragic passing, the Sup Dogs business and its two locations (Bret opened a second in Chapel Hill in 2014) are thriving, thanks in no small part to Bret's tireless work ethic, eagerness to adapt and brilliant ingenuity. The viral thrust of a $10,000 tip is just the latest public example of the success he's earned.

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