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Bald Ambition

Hell-bent on getting attention? Try a zany marketing stunt.

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This story appears in the December 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Bald isn't just beautiful-it's also economic. Restaurateur Gary Arnold, 52, saw to that earlier this year when he began offering balding customers a discount on Wednesdays. People with half their hair receive a 50 percent discount, and for Kojak lookalikes, the whole enchilada is free. Gary's Uptown Restaurant and Bar in Lodi, California, has received a ton of national press, and the customers "have a lot of fun," says co-owner and Arnold's wife, Debra, 39.

But marketing gimmicks can backfire. In 1999, another restaurant, Casa Sanchez in San Francisco, began offering a free burrito a day for life to anybody who would get a tattoo of their restaurant's logo-a boy wearing a sombrero and riding a fiery corncob. But the owners stopped after 40 people because they calculated that if each person took them up on the offer for the next 50 years, it would cost $5.8 million. And this year, the state of New Jersey banned "Ladies Night" in bars because six years ago, a litigious man learned he had to pay $5 to get into a bar, while women paid $1.

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