For the launch of every successful new restaurant, there is a successful restaurant marketing plan. We love finding on-brand ways to bring a new biz to life, especially when there’s food involved. Restaurant marketing for the win!
In the spring of 2016, our existing clients at Masala Wok expanded their footprint in the world of Indian cuisine with a new Indian food concept called Tikka Shack. Locally owned in Lubbock, Texas, Tikka Shack is founded on a fun, easy-order approach to Indian cuisine—and, man, is it gooood.
The menu features street-food starters, slow-crafted Indian staples, and a full offering of sides, drinks, and desserts. The idea was to convert “naan newbies” into “curry connoisseurs” by making the menu easy to understand. In addition to their step-by-step ordering process, the restaurant also offers an extensive list of build-your-own bowls, kabobs, and kid-friendly meals. All dishes are made with the freshest ingredients, prepared daily, and infused with a blend of spices to delight the palate.
When we originally met with Masala Wok’s founder about the new concept, we were stoked. He was essentially opening up the Chipotle of Indian food, and he was open to backing it with a cheeky, inviting brand.
We got to work creating a catchy name that would resonate with his target market while working well in application. We then worked up a visual exploration of the store and mocked up the interior branding prior to the build-out. We selected restaurant interior finishes for all surfaces, addressed wayfinding, and created a flow that would drive customers through menu selection. The finishes brought in a modern, industrial feel, and the open counter space invited guests to enjoy the space.
No element of the new restaurant marketing was overlooked, as we worked with Tikka Shack to weave their uniquely hip approach through the entire customer experience. The store is cleverly outfitted with one-of-a-kind wall installations and floor designs, and welcomes diners in with a proverbial smile.
To bring the brand to life, we created a brand voice that is witty, current, and on-trend. We also addressed the look of the brand by setting guidelines for images, fonts, and photography. All of the food was staged and photographed by Nice Branding Agency to ensure that the photos aligned with the visual brand direction, and these photos were used in the website design, printed materials, menu boards, and social media posts, among other things. The food photography made a huge impact and is something we recommend for all restaurants.
We crafted staff apparel emblazoned with mantras such as “This is Naan Nation.” The phrase was given legs with a hashtag #ThisIsNaanNation and a social like and follow campaign centered around the hashtag. We also sought to educate diners about more obscure Indian dishes, so we created staff shirts that featured dish definitions for items such as paneer and chole masala.
Having designed a super-cool space, we were tasked with the job of getting people there. If you build it, they will come. Right? Well, it’s not quite that simple (luckily for us).
We systematically created a marketing plan that attacked the opening from all angles. The campaign centered around a series of promotions and social media campaigns that served to create a buzz about the grand opening while also bringing people into the store. The restaurant marketing campaign was driven by a careful combination of email blasts, social ads, and a landing page with an email capture.
The goal of the launch campaign for Tikka Shack was to increase awareness about the launch of the restaurant brand, to build social media engagement, and to drive sales for a successful grand opening. Our approach was multi-pronged and included many advertising channels.
Overall, the response was overwhelmingly positive, and the store experienced sales numbers that were almost triple that of previous sister-store launches.
From a restaurant marketing standpoint, the campaign was successful, as we saw over 3,000 visits to the landing page, gained over 1,500 Facebook page likes, and built the email subscriber database to over 2,700. This type of data is nice to have and makes us (and our clients!) feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but it’s actually so much more than that.
Regular reporting really does drive all of our decision-making. We pull reports on a regular basis during the campaign and use the analytics to determine what is working and what is not working. Now, this doesn’t mean we switch things up every three days. It takes time for the plan to take hold, and it’s important to be patient. We generally see that strategies take about six weeks to really show their worth.
The owner of Tikka Shack was absolutely blown away by the response on opening day. During opening week, he received so much business that he had to have his food supplier bring in an additional truckload of food and set up the trailer in the parking lot to serve as an additional walk-in fridge. He saw a flurry of activity on social media and was able to gain an average review rating of 4.4 stars.
The importance of a strong opening campaign may seem obvious, but keep in mind that you MUST capitalize on the momentum generated by the opening buzz. Even prior to opening, it’s prudent to have your restaurant marketing agency (hopefully, Nice Branding Agency!) prepare a subsequent marketing plan that will transition you into an ongoing annual marketing strategy.
With our systematic approach to design, branding, and marketing, we can definitely fill your tables. However, once the diners are in your hands, it’s up to you to wow them with stellar customer service; a clean, well-operating restaurant; and mouth-watering cuisine.
If you’re opening a restaurant and in need of restaurant marketing, or considering rebranding your existing restaurant, don’t overlook the importance of a strong brand and a smart marketing plan. This isn’t our first rodeo, and we’d love to talk to you about partnering with you on the process.
Get Your Nice Swag On.