Middletons Steakhouse & Grill has come a long way in five years, from turning a village pub in Norfolk into its first restaurant, to opening a further five restaurants across East Anglia and the Southeast. After a soft launch in their last location, they realised the need to make the brand more recognisable. To ensure success, Middletons needed to increase their brand awareness and build their customer base in and around Leicester.
The Brief —
ToTheEnd were approached by the restaurant to develop an audience-orientated, digital marketing strategy. Whilst we endeavoured to create interest online and drive traffic to the website, we also needed to focus on delivering a physical footfall.
The Leicester restaurant is housed within a historic city centre banking hall, the building had previously been closed to the public, since NatWest moved out in 2000. The space was large, meaning there were a lot of seats to be filled.
In terms of generating publicity, the location of Middletons Steakhouse & Grill Leicester, with the restoration and conversion of the old bank, gave us an undeniable opportunity to create engaging content for the local area. Regional press were regularly updated on the building’s progress and it was widely reported in the Leicester Mercury. BBC East Midlands Today ran a news feature on the building’s history on the main programme and on its social media accounts. Alongside this traditional media approach, food and drink reviewers were approached to review the steakhouse on preview nights leading up to the official launch.
The above was supported with a social media strategy promoting the launch across Facebook with a Leicester Facebook Page, and on the main Twitter account – this was integrated with email, as a competition was initiated on social media to sign up to a new Leicester mailing list. Prominent local Twitter accounts were followed, inviting individuals to the launch and to sample Middletons prior to the official opening. The ‘Moments’ feature was utilised as soon as it was introduced on Twitter and ahead of Middletons’ competitors, curating mentions and tweets about the launch into one place. This continued up to the soft launch, with the social posts of the influencers and bloggers we invited along being included.
On Facebook we built anticipation on the Leicester page in coherence to the news reports, with shots of building plans and the work progressing, enabling locals to reminisce about the old bank. The page was used to promote new job openings, knowing that this would be a key part of spreading the word around Leicester as users tagged other people in it.
The Results —
The restaurant was the best performing of the chain within month one, exceeding projected sales by 25%
BBC Television Coverage
Every table filled on the launch night, as well as every evening of the following week
Feature articles in all of the largest local newspapers
On the night of the launch, Middletons Steakhouse and Grill Leicester reached full capacity, this success continued throughout the first week. The restaurant was the best performing of the whole chain within month one, exceeding projected sales by 25%.
Publicity had a huge impact on the success of Middleton’s Leicester with extensive coverage from the local media, including features on BBC East Midlands News and articles within the biggest regional newspapers and websites including: Leicester Mercury, Cool as Leicester and Leicester City Council.
The televised BBC News item boosted website sessions by 59% from the previous day alone. During October 2016, sessions on the website increased by 29.4%, with organic traffic increasing by 30.4%.