For decades, it's been a time-honored tradition of smaller restaurant chains to give you a branded cup to take with you when your meal is finished. It's a great and proven means of branding and carry-over advertising in the home, but at some point, that cost is too much for some to bear.

Growing up in Northern Oklahoma I knew these cups as Eskimo Joe cups, and most eateries hopped on that trend seeing the advertising value. In Lawton, Rib Crib owns that identical cup but the time has come to end that tradition.

While we heard a few different takes on the story... it's hard to nail down whether it was a local franchisee decision or something down at corporate, but it has become too expensive in a time of rampant inflation to give away cups as if they didn't charge $3 for soda and tea. Instead, Rib Crib is going back to their traditional red, what I like to call "80s Pizza Hut" cups, which I teased I'd sneak one of those out one day too.

The times are changing again. Gone are the days of realized value in lieu of protecting a shrinking bottom line, which is a common story told in the restaurant and small business industry all over the world.

When profits shrink, the first thing to go is advertising... which every expert in the world agrees should be the last thing to go.  After all, if you're not reminding people consistently that you're still around, they tend to forget about you.

Henry Ford famously said, "A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time."

Rib Crib is one of my favorite places to have lunch too, but mostly because it's usually scarce on people, the staff is hilariously awesome, and the food is generally out pretty quickly. There's so much potential to make this place a Lawton lunch staple, but the bottom line is the bottom line.

You can still snatch what is left of those cups though... The last box in the back has been set aside for their big Veterans Day celebration on November 11th. If you'd like to snag your last Rib Crib cup, that'd be the day to pick BBQ, preferably early before they run out.

It's the end of an era... for now. If and when things improve, there's always a chance they could make a return. Let's just hope this isn't another nail in the coffin for Lawton's most affordable and acceptable BBQ.

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