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Personality Profile: Wade Randolph Hampton

See the dude to the left? That is Wade Randolph Hampton, marketing director for N9NE Steakhouse. You “know” Wade if you read the comment section under this post below. Yes, I know he sounds like one crazy dude—angry, resentful, mean, and vindictive. Guess what? He’s a pussy cat. Yesterday, I called Wade to find out what he was so dang mad about. Below I attempt to put our long conversation into interview form. Jump for the whole N9NE yards.

NN: What are you so mad about?

WRH: I’m not mad.

NN: You sent us a press release announcing Mike Modano as a “spokesman” for N9NE. We reported the information and posted the picture you attached. Then, after three reader comments–one asking why Modano wasn’t wearing his wedding ring–you went off on, what I would call, a rant. Do you feel like you’ve committed professional suicide?

WRH: Hey, we [N9NE] don’t have a firm or an agency of record representing us anymore. My feeling is [PR] agencies in Dallas are beholden to the local press and they are too worried about what they [media] say so they don’t get their jobs done. Now, I don’t have a client list so this isn’t professional suicide for me. My bosses stand behind me. I’ve been doing PR for the recording and film industry for 20 years.

NN: Why take it out in the comments section of a blog? Don’t folks who comment ob blogs have the “right” to express how they feel about the advertising campaign you, Wade Randolph Hampton, styled and wrote? Why did you say, “Sleep well tonight [D Magazine] knowing you did everything you could to drag down employees of a quality restaurant during a bad economy”? How was that statement relevant to the Modano news?

WRH: Sure, everyone has a right to their opinion and I do too. So I posted. I don’t have the luxury of a blog to defend [N9NE & Ghostbar] so I post whenever something negative [happens]. The point is, your [D] statements about N9NE have categorically been negative press. We have to make things work to our way. We don’t have anything to lose [by posting]. How much more bad press can we endure?  I mean the Observer called our waitresses Space Hookers. [Ed note: I can’t find the reference on the Observer site. Dave Faires says he didn't write it.]

NN: A couple of weeks ago you posted that N9NE did 400 covers in one night. It sounds like business at N9NE isn’t all that bad.

WRH: I have some waitresses making $100 grand a year. A couple of weeks ago, two split a $27,000 tip.

NN: Excuse me? Are you accepting applications?

WRH: [Laughs] We are losing millions of dollars here. I just hope this Victory stuff will start happening. It is just shocking to me how the Dallas press is so negative about anybody coming in from Las Vegas and blowing up the negative Las Vegas part–like we’re loud. Hey, I’m not from Las Vegas, I’m from Dallas. Our core staff isn’t from Las Vegas. I feel sad that all you [media] want is home-grown stuff and outside stuff is not accepted.

NN: Well, I’m sure a lot of those millions were lost when [sister restaurant] Nove went out of business. D Magazine published a positive review on our experience at Nove. Maybe what you call bad publicity has been good for N9NE?

WRH: Listen, when Dallas [N9NE] opened, they were number one in numbers for the first year—against Chicago and Las Vegas.

NN: Wait, you mean when N9NE opened in 2007, you did bigger numbers than those restaurants in 2007?

WRH: Well, no when they [Chicago and Las Vegas] first opened.

NN: When was that?

WRH: 1999.

NN: Do you think, given the time span, that is a fair gauge? I mean ten years ago, a steak wasn’t $49.

WRH: Oh, that’s a good point. I guess I better go back and look at that.

NN: Dude, I gotta say you really don’t hold back. I’m starting to like you.

WRH: Hey, come on over and have some tequila. I’m not out to make enemies. I’m honest and I’m not afraid to say what’s on my mind.

38 comments on “Personality Profile: Wade Randolph Hampton

  1. By God if that ain’t a picture of Tom Arnold circa 1990 back when he was pudgy, freshly married to Roseanne, and smoked like a chimney!

  2. He seems to have a short trigger pull…doesn’t take much for him to fire off his unfounded thoughts about D Mag.

    But he just seems like a tool whichever way.

  3. You truly have the full support of your employers? That’s shocking to me. You have passion for your career, but I wouldn’t want you representing my brand. Belittling local press or aggressively defending your ad concept on a blog cannot be how N9NE is wishing you would portray their brand positioning of luxury and accessible exclusivity. You obviously have pluck. Combine that with smarts and you’d be on your way to running all of N9NE’s marketing.

  4. Looking forward to the day, once again, when honest substance is finally valued more than the sensational immediacy of blogging.

    If knowing 15% of the true story is all you need in life, then read on folks…

    Even Nancy Nichols can’t spoil one of the greatest days of my lifetime.

  5. Actually, a fairly interesting peak behind the PR curtain. Good for Mr. Hampton doing his job, defending his product and for contributing here.

    Been to N9NE several times, and it just does not live up to the hype. Solid food at a high price. Same opinion on Craft.

    I too hope the Victory development succeeds. I hope N9NE and what ever other fine folks lay down the cash to play do well. At the end of the day each spot will be graded on its product. My opinion is that N9NE gets a 6ix in my book. I know others that claim it is one of the best spots in town. Thankfully, there is room for us all in Dallas.

    Now bring on the the Love Shack and the new Thai spot!

  6. Wade has always been one who tells you what “it is”, not some other version.. if you can’t handle the truth, don’t talk to wade.. that’s all he will give ya..

    He does have a point.. instead of bitching about the new companies investing in dallas, try and lift them up..

    =)

    p.s. Wade.. not all Dallas PR agencies are scared… just for the record.

  7. I thought his comments the other day made him out to be a douche, but his picture makes it official he belongs at Ghostbar.

  8. Perfect explanation. Local PR professionals are “worried about what the media say.” N9NE Group considers that attribute (which some would say is part of a PR professional’s job description) a liability, so they hire WRH.

  9. Hampton-gate has been infinitely more interesting than listening to any more inauguration poetry.

  10. So, he’s been doing PR for the recording and film industry for 20 years. Figures — he knows squat about restaurant feedback and image.

    I wonder how he arrived at 15% of the true story, too? He could have told you/us 100%, not a mere 15%. But, I guess a guy like Wade can only think on his feet after first sitting down for awhile and printing out the letters with a pencil.

    So he doesn’t mess up… again.

  11. Wade sorta reminds me of something George W. Bush once said of himself:

    “People have oftentatiously described me as being two tacos short of a combo platter — whatever that means”.

  12. Oh, I just got into the office. This makes me tired. Wade e-mailed me and said “The exposure you provided me in front of them is –reckless…Would love to hear you try to say you have no agenda now” Let me be perfectly clear, I have no agenda with N9NE or Wade. The guy speaks his mind and I like that in a person. But I am not going to go back and print my transcribed notes of our conversation or back peddle. I am through with this mess.You people carry on.

  13. Don’t be tired Nancy.

    This is more exposure than this guy’s gonna get in the next 10 years. And he knows it.

    And he’s loving it — trust me.

  14. just for the record Sarah this is the kind of thing I was referencing in my post on that other site last week. Although it is amusing to see a bunch of “adults” pile on some hapless PR guy.

  15. I don’t recall anything D has said about N9ne. From my own 2 experiences there, I won’t go back.
    My opinion on N9ne’s new ad campaign: WTF? Is Modano advertising his suit? His watch? Trying to hide the fact that Willa made him a little overexcited in public?
    My opinion on Wade: He not only looks like but acts like a buffoon. Nice hair, though (Wade, that’s sarcasm, buddy).
    Thanks for the laughs today, DJ Jazzy Jeff or WishFM or BadPR or whatever your name is.
    Note: The above are my opinions. D Magazine cannot be held responsible for my opinions.

  16. I’m a huge fan of both N9NE and Wade! Wade is a laid back guy with innovative ideas… and he just sets a cool vibe for hanging out. N9NE has the nicest staff and the best s’mores.

  17. Wade only says hello when it’s in his best interest-not an attribute any PR person worth their weight in N9NE dollars should possess. He’s a rusty old ole tool in need of a face lift, not another ego boost. Rave on lil’ buddy, who gives a sh*%$# what you say.

  18. Yikes! Looks like the wasted raver Leprechaun.

    Typical mugshot.

    It’s people like this that make Dallas cringe.

  19. Perhaps your service experience was subpar because you refuse to change out of your baseball cap and t-shirts from yesteryear. Nine doesn’t position itself as a sports bar and thus your usual McDonalds attire may not fly.

    It sounds as if the vast majority of you do not know Wade personally (perhaps why you do not leave your name?), and therefore it’s not your place to judge who he is or the kind of success he brings to Nine Group. Take a second to get to know him and what it is Nine is doing for Victory Park before your criticize.

  20. Hey Jackson,
    I heard there’s a new Applebee’s up in Allen. You should meet some of your high school buddies up there for a good time. Good luck with that down payment

  21. Met the man…sharp guy, too bad there are other better steakhouses and Ghostbar is full of deadbeats and Plano soccer moms. Oh…and no one working at N9NE makes $100K.

  22. Molly- My name IS Jackson, but good one. I don’t think you understand what I’m trying to say about N9NE. I never said a sports bar. Your rantings of a cynical woman make no sense in defense of what I was saying. All I’m saying is people in Dallas don’t want to pay $1000 for a dinner for 2. This is not a vacation spot or NYC or LA it’s Dallas and my point was to say that we are laid back and if we spend money on something we like good service as well. If you really think that most the people eating at 9 are wealthy, think again. You can catch them at Bob’s or Nick & Sams or the Crescent where their money is well spent. Food + Good Service + Friendly Environment…picking up what I’m laying down?

    Thanks Barrett, I’ll look into that.

    Nobody at 9 makes 100k sorry. And waitresses splitting a $27,000 tip? Gag me.

  23. Love Nancy Nichols, but she actually misquoted me. Those were ghostbar waitresses I was referring to, not N9NE.

    And it is a true story.

    BTW – Kate isn’t a stripper on drugs.

    She’s a lawyer. Go figure.

  24. Yes, Mike looks bored.
    JS – it’s not Willa that is getting Mike excited these days.
    As for Wade, he likes the all the fuss this blog is creating.

  25. IF U WANT THE BEST STEAK IN DFW , GO TO KENNY’S WOOD FIRE GRILL, THEY ARE FLAME BROILED WITH REAL WOOD AND THEY DON’T COST $49 AND THERE IS NO DORKY PUTZ OF A PR GUY
    WHO’S MORE WORRIED ABOUT READING HIS OWN CLIPPINGS THAN DOING HIS JOB. THE SEE AND BE SEEN CROWD WHO LIVE IN THEIR BMW’S CAN’T BUY STEAK. HE DIDN’T KNOW HIS ANYTHING ABOUT MARKETING, HE JUST WANTED TO PARTY WITH HIS PHONIES
    RICHARD S POLLAK
    MBA IN MARKEING ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
    PRESIDENT RAINBOW ENTERTAINMENT

  26. I bet Ghost Bar is gone by August. I hope it ends up as a great restaurant, Sunday brunch on that balcony would be nice. We can give Wade a pitcher full of mimosas to serve us! Lets just make sure he leaves the PR to someone else. Speaking of PR, do restaurants actually hire PR firms? I really can’t see Bob, Dean, or Javier paying for that. Maybe you need one if you hire space hookers to serve your steak! Wade, you should have had them as go go dancers instead, I bet a strip club would do well in Victory.

  27. Thier numbers would be great if they were in a million dollar space on McKinney avenue, with a juke box for the entertainment.

    However, that place would be worth at least &15,000,000 as a condo, I know the space below it is still vacant. (I have heard there are noise issues, and who really wants to hear “DJ Who ever” when you are trying to sleep.) So Hillwood has basicly lost two perfectly good floors, or something like 24,000 feet of the best space in the W. Anyway, if you break down the numbers that 400k or so a month really doesn’t go far.

    Assuming the rent is something near market it should be a good 150k a month, (I think this is still a low number, 4 high speed dedicated, large capacty elevators are very expensive, and waste space on EVERY other floor. Utilities are probably 8k, even on a slow night there is a unresonable amount of staff there, 1 door guy, usually 2 elevator guys, probably 3 other security guys, and probably 2 managers. Lets not forget about Wades pay. My best guess is at least another 100k a month in labor. About once a month they are having a party and paying a celeb/dj around $20k to show up. I bet insurance (I am really guessing here.) runs at least 4k a month. Lets figure the phone bill, janatorial, repairs, legal, advertising, comps, and all the other nickel and dime stuff adds up to another 10k a month. Thats nearly 300k before we ever even talk about the cost of goods sold, or debt service! If there is anyone familiar with the bar business I would appriciate a guess on those numbers.

    Even though N9ne didn’t do all that much business I am sure they helped out Ghost bar. Every time I ate there someone would always want to walk us over there so we could “Skip the line”. So I am sure they will see some drop in sales. Not to mention ghosts business has been steadily dropping anyway.

    All that being said I really don’t see that bar turning a profit. If you combine that with a landlord that probably wants them out, I bet we see the lighs turned off with in the year.

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