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Building buzz for a new eatery is always exciting. In a major metropolitan city like Los Angeles, however, competition is tough. Working with one of our PRGN partners, THO was tasked with building excitement on the newest location for LYFE Kitchen in one of our submarkets. Our goal: creating unique opportunities to get the media, community and social media influencers in the door.
With two locations already in the greater Los Angeles area, this was not the first entrance into this market. THO’s goal was to fill the restaurant and encourage local Yelpers and social media influencers to not only come to the restaurant but actually cover this particular location.
Get creative! Launching to the lunch crowd with a “brussel sprouts ribbon” cutting (see photo) served as the initial kick-off to the local community. THO then got even more creative in the design and implementation of media events, along with the necessary due diligence to identify food writers and bloggers willing to re-discover an existing restaurant brand.
Using private tastings and the grand opening, THO attracted writers and reviewers from more than 15 local magazines, community publications and blogs. We then implemented a second strategy targeted at the Yelp community, to build affinity for this location. More than 150 Yelp reviewers were invited to a complimentary tasting and experience evening. The results of this created an immediate buzz, as well as a strong, positive rating on Yelp that supported a successful launch as well as a restaurant filled with first-time LYFE Kitchen guests.
Building a buzz requires a building block process. Make sure you’ve engaged all of your major stakeholders early in the game.
- Plan a soft grand opening at a time when the core group can gather and celebrate.
- Remember, “the devil is in the details”: make sure menus are ready, the parking is easy, and directions are simple.
- Listen to the comments at the first event, then make any adjustments based on the initial feedback for the next one.