Here’s How Marketing and Merchandise Helped This Las Vegas Staple Score Big

Here’s How Marketing and Merchandise Helped This Las Vegas Staple Score Big
See how this Las Vegas staple prepared their business and won customers during Game Day.
by Maya Rollings Feb 28, 2024 — 4 min read
Here’s How Marketing and Merchandise Helped This Las Vegas Staple Score Big

For 22 years, POP‘S has brought Philadelphia pride to Las Vegas. Founded by Perry and Barbara Walton, POP’S, which stands for Pride of Philly Steaks, is an homage to the late Mr. Walton’s childhood. “His parents would take him to South Philly and the Jersey Shore, and he just kind of fell in love with that sandwich,” said Christina Walton, who now co-owns the business with her mother. Her father’s childhood love for Philly steaks has turned into a thriving, award-winning business that’s sold over two million cheesesteaks and become a staple in Las Vegas culture. 

So, it’s no surprise that when the NFL Championship game between Kansas City and San Francisco took place just twenty minutes away at Allegiant Stadium, they sold over 1,500 sandwiches over the course of the weekend. Fortunately for POP’S, they were built for events like this. After navigating major experiences such as the F1 convention and different happenings at the Las Vegas sphere, this restaurant has a deep history of rising to the occasion. However, for the very first NFL Championship to take place on Las Vegas grounds, POP’S used a variety of methods, including automation and technology, to make this historic moment important for the business and its customers, new and old.

Using social media to bring in customers

With an estimated quarter of a million visitors in Las Vegas for the highly anticipated weekend and millions more watching throughout the city and neighboring towns, POP’S launched an all-out football catering campaign. “On our website, e-blasts, and social media channels, everything [was] branded with catering specific graphics,” said Megan Tiedge, Brand Manager of POP’S. To take their efforts a step further, they even made limited changes to their menu. With a mostly numbered menu, they introduced a number 58 to honor the 58th NFL Championship, which featured a four pack of their prized cheese steaks.

To sweeten the opportunity for customers and encourage two-way engagement, they also decided to incorporate free giveaways and social media contests. “All of the customers who came into the store or ordered delivery [got] a free limited-edition koozie with their purchase. And then with that, we ran some really fun social media contests [like] show us your koozie,” shared Tiedge. At the end of the weekend, POP’S gave out over 1,000 football-themed koozies and had several customers showing off their koozies on social media.


The free koozies are actually an extension of their growing merchandise line and another way to create awareness of the brand and the merchandise line itself. “We wear merchandise around town, and whenever you want to feel popular, you just wear your POP’S hat because you’ll get stopped and be like, ‘Oh my God, do you work there?’ It’s the biggest pick me up,” Tiedge said. 

Leveraging marketing automation to win

Launching their merchandise line just in time for the big game helped them strategically use their email marketing software to drive sales. “It’s definitely given us a boost,” Tiedge said of Square Marketing. “Being able to drive traffic directly to those links and delivery online, it’s just really advantageous with our digital platforms,” she added. Since adopting Square Marketing over the past year, they’ve garnered an average open rate of 38% — almost double the restaurant industry average. Tiedge also noted that the campaign duplication feature allows them to maximize what works so they can hone in on their audience for the next big event. In fact, restaurateurs report that tools like marketing automation have helped them better reach customers overall.

The 2024 Square Future of Restaurants report saw 38% of restaurateurs report more effective customer communications as a result of automation and technology.

Leading up to the big game, POP’S saw their catering-centric emails drive significant traffic and thousands of dollars in attributed sales, all of which they were able to track through their Square Dashboard. Letting their menu speak for itself, POP’S leaned into a visual approach to snag customers, showcasing aesthetically pleasing images of each catering platter, snappy descriptions, and other relevant information without overwhelming customers. With the success of the initial catering campaigns, POP’S was able to leverage the campaign duplication feature to recreate the highest performers and encourage more sales closer to the big day. “The performance and the analytics have really helped us continue to be successful with the campaigns we’re sending out,” said Tiedge.

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Treating everyday as the main event

While this might’ve been the first time an NFL championship took place on Las Vegas grounds, every day is the main event at POP’S. “We’re used to being bombarded and always busy. We’re open 24/7/365. We never close,” said Walton. Perhaps it’s this always-on method that’s allowed them to foster such a deep relationship with the community and customers alike. From niche Reddit threads to popular magazines and local television placements, POP’S customers are the epitome of loyal and some of the brand’s biggest ambassadors. “They are our best videographers. They make the most amazing videos of our food, and they really are just the best exposure. You can’t pay for that, and they just come and do it on their own,” Tiedge proudly proclaimed. 

With the championship over, Walton is focused on expanding her father’s legacy while creating her own and ushering POP’S into the future. Since taking over in 2021, she’s established a ghost kitchen to help support third-party deliveries and catering, launched new revenue streams, and completely upgraded the technology, all to create a better POP’S for customers and staff alike.

Once I became involved and my dad had passed on, the very first thing I did was upgrade the technology, and Square was my first pick. ”

Christina Walton

Even with several accomplishments under her belt, one thing is clear: Walton is just getting started. “I feel like that saying that [says], ‘If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,’” she said. And while the future is wide open for this thriving business, POP’S will always be built on family. “My mom and I are now the proud owners, and I don’t know what the next steps are, but I definitely see it being in the family,” she said.

Maya Rollings
Maya Rollings is an editor at Square where she writes about all things customer experience, from building a solid customer base to leveraging tools and technology that meets them where they are in their journey.


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