Rachael Ray Has the Midas Touch

There is no doubt that being mentioned by Rachael Ray, either on TV or in print, has a positive effect on a restaurant or product. With her new talk show, Rachael's popularity is on the rise and so is her ability to make sales soar. Recently, several articles highlighting the Rachael Ray effect have grabbed my attention. I think I find these stories (and previous ones like it) so interesting because they sort of represent a Cinderella story - a previously unknown company all of a sudden gets a national audience paying attention to them simply by being featured by Rachael Ray. It sorta reminds me of another person who has that effect....

I wrote about the Blue Mermaid Island Grill being featured on Tasty Travels, one of Rachael's Food Network shows. From the looks of the picture at left, Rachael had a good time when filming at the Blue Mermaid. According to the Portsmouth Herald, things being featured on Tasty Travels has brought many new customers to the Blue Mermaid:
The restaurant's Web site received twice as many hits the day after the show's Aug. 15 airing, and half the customers who came the following three days told owner Karen Logan, "Rachael sent us."

Logan, who opened the Blue Mermaid with her husband in 1993, brought in a second large-screen television to watch the segment two weeks ago. "It was great," says Logan.

"We had about 50 people, and I passed around samples of what Ray ate on the show, which included plantain-encrusted grouper." Ray also had a Fire and Ice margarita during the June taping.

Logan had intended to space out Ray's meal as with any dinner guest. But Ray needed everything served at once, which resulted in a 20-minute delay, time Ray used for a $4,000 shopping spree. Ray and her crew returned for lunch the following day, Logan said.

One product that may soon be reaping the benefits of Rachael's popularity is Angie's Kettle Corn. According to the Mankato Free Press, the company "got a call from the producer for the Food Channel’s wildly popular Rachael Ray." They requested 200 bags of popcorn, which Angie's overnighted to them. As a result, "the bags — given to all the audience members — should be highlighted on a new nationally syndicated Rachael Ray show debuting this fall."

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