The Flavour Hut was a small, mom and pop restaurant located a stone's throw away from Old Dominion University. The eatery was a popular destination for pockets of undergrad students from the 5 major universities in the Hampton Roads area and local Norfolk residents. Despite its well-received presence, the owner expressed that he wanted to strengthen the establishment's branding, improve their social media presence ,and implement new sales tactics to grow their customer base.
Flavour With a Purpose
Developing a more consistent brand identity for the Flavour Hut was my first task. I worked
with management to create a comprehensive brand strategy for the eatery. Eventually, we arrived the following statement:
Nourish our community through excellent food service.
We demonstrated a commitment to this strategy through the following values and initiatives:
Entrepreneurial Empowerment by allowing business owners to display their collateral free of charge
Childhood Wellness (catering a local football camp hosted by NFL linebacker LaRoy Reynolds)
Philanthropy (clothing and toy drives, and fundraising for Chesapeake children's summer programs)
Social Justice (highlighting causes such as voter registration, civil rights, and human equality)
These pillars served as a baseline approach to guide their brand purpose and other CSR-like activities.
A New Comms Recipe
Initially, the Flavour Hut had one form of social media, a Twitter page (@TheFlavourHut1).
The page was litterred with an imbalanced follower ratio and unmoving visual content.
The Solution: A spiced up Twitter account (@TheFlavourHut1)
Seasoned with: quippy, passionate, and approachable language, appealing food photography and clear consumer calls-to-action.
To grow the new page's s following , we formed a brand ambassadorship program with several ODU students who had strong social media followings. For the cost of one meal per week, the students agreed to post images of the food and retweet all food content posts from our account.
Ironically, the restaurants location proved to be a barrier to driving its brand awareness.
Situated on a busting side street in front of a vacant grass field, many patrons out right missed the restaurant when they went to visit for the first time.
So, we turned this weakness into a strength. We partnered with ODU Greek life to host a Back to School Labor Day cookout in the grass field. By hosting the event in the grass field, we placed the location of the restaurant at top of mind for the consumer and alleviated their major pain point.
Cooking Up The Sales
Excitement from our target audiences increased tremendously, but it was not enough.
In order to keep their tastebuds watering, we created the #FlavourFridaze hashtag to promote a new weekly flash-style sales promotions, special events, and customer challenges.
The strategy placement of this promotion was based on two college student behavioral tendencies:
1.) They fear of missing out on discounted food.
2.) They love a hearty meal before jumpstarting their weekend social activities.
Eventually the success of the promotion inspired the creation of the Flavour Hour, a weekly happy hour-styled discount on wings and burgers.
Looking to capitalize on the success of the Labor Day cookout, we implemented Flavour Club Rewards Card as another way to drive restaurant sales and customer loyalty. The concept we developed was that for every 10 meals purchased, cardholders would receive one free meal. Additionally, rewards members would receive early access to #FlavourFridaze meals of the week via text notification.
The Final Entree
During the 9 months in which I worked with the Flavour Hut, the eatery saw noticeable improvement and growth in its financial and social media performance.
@flavourhut1 Peak Follower Count: 140
@flavourhutva Peak Follower Count: 440
@flavourhut1 Engagement Rate: 1.35%
@flavourhutva Engagement Rate: 4%
Avg. Weekly Profit (pre-partnership):$7,300
Avg. Weekly Profit (after brand refresh and implemented sales tactics):$8,760
Experiential (Labor Day Cookout)
Turnout: 600 People
Source of Revenue: ($2 food plates + $1 beverages+ and daily restaurant sales)