Updated: Jun 16, 2021
We recently sat down with Megan Sereda, Marketing Manager of Creative Restaurants Group, to discuss how they have been overcoming their marketing challenges.
Creative Restaurants Group consists of: FREE HOUSE - Local Beer & Food Hall | Bonterra Trattoria | Posto Pizzeria and Bar | Rose & Crown - Banff.
What do you find are your biggest challenges marketing the Creative Restaurant brands?
Our usual marketing strategy with the restaurants is to focus on experiences & events. Once we can get a customer in the door and wow them with our service and quality of food, we know we will get them to come back and share word of mouth with friends and family.
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve had to transition into a more digital world and make sure that our quality and experience stayed the same, while continuing to offer different experiences. The hardest part about trying to still offer different experiences throughout was communicating what was going on to our customers with no one in the building.
What are your strategies to overcome these challenges?
We had to get creative, we offered themed dinners, tested different pastas to make sure they travelled well, and did collaborations with other restaurants and local business. The most important thing was to have consistent messaging everywhere; our website, Google and social platforms, etc. We also ensured all staff knew what was going on, what changes were happening and what we were offering. There is nothing worse than a customer calling to order from us and one of our team members not knowing about the special menu offered that weekend.
We used a lot of email marketing to our existing contacts and social posts on Instagram and Facebook to share what was new each week, to remind customers of our regular items and to keep us top of mind so, when we could open again, they remembered us and remained loyal.
What are some great resources for you as a marketing lead? Are there blogs, online resources, industry associations that have helped?
We have a consistent group of influencers that not only come in and share what we have going on but also love our brand. This really helps keep our marketing budget low when you know customers are going to come back on their own.
We also had a lot of help from local media this past year as they know we don't have the budgets to purchase a lot of advertising with having to close so often. Groups like Curiocity Calgary and Avenue Magazine really wanted to share creative ways restaurants were adapting and they helped me a lot in my role.
I also take a lot of inspiration from partnerships. It’s so inspiring to be able to meet up with complimentary or contrasting brands and see how we can work together to create something great for a customer. It's so helpful because you will both have different ideas about your own and each others brands and great things can come out of these discussions.
When advertising, what is the most difficult part?
For me, it's always been about the return on investment and what you can track. When you have minimal budget for traditional marketing, you need to make sure that it is driving people to your business. Whether it's an offer that requires a promo code or mention of a post on social media, you want to make sure it has trackable data.
You have been working with BOOM since 2018. Why did you choose to work with BOOM?
BOOM is a great business to work with that allows us to connect directly with the corporate world and their employed members.
When it comes to restaurants, there is so much competition based on location, budget and experiences. With BOOM, we can connect with companies/employees directly and offer them something special to come down and visit us. It has been especially helpful during the pandemic, as most staff are not working in downtown offices, where they would traditionally go out for lunch, but in isolation at home. We needed to utilize BOOM's corporate contacts to connect and share how they could still enjoy our restaurant offers and specials, like our DIY Pizza Kits..
How does the BOOM solution work for you?
It's great! We have specific promotional codes that we provide to BOOM so that each restaurant has its own special/offer. We can track which offers are working well for us, and our customers, and change or update our offers as new items appear on the menu.
BOOM is amazing as they take care of everything and keep us on track. It’s full service and we couldn’t do without the whole team at BOOM.
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