Port City Food Lovers Rejoice!

Craving a chance to experience some of Wilmington’s finest dining, but are discouraged by the idea of such a pricey evening? Wilmington’s Encore Magazine has an entire week dedicated to you. Their goal? To drive traffic to the area’s finest local eateries, bakeries and culinary hotspots! Encore’s marketing representative, Shea Carver, took some time to speak with me about how restaurant week works, explaining that “As part of Encore Restaurant Week, we will persuade diners, local and otherwise, to indulge in the outstanding cuisine along our Southeast corridor. In doing so, we ask for participating eateries to come up with an incredible deal to drive diners into their establishments during one week in October and one week in March.” To make Encore Restaurant Week (ERW) not only a success for businesses but for customers, here are examples of what could be offered: 1) Four-course dinner for $25 per person. 2) Three-course lunch for $12 per person. 3) Dessert trio for $10 per person. 4) Breakfast for two for $20,

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Encore utilizes the IMC perspective on event coordination throughout the process of organizing this highly anticipated event. In event coordination “professionals must understand not only the basics of event planning such as site selection, setup requirements and on-site management strategies, but also how IMC principles are an integral part of the planning and execution process.” Encore approaches restaurant week with the key purpose of “Let us be your Ad Agency!”

In an effort gain interest from local restaurants and attract their participation Shea Carver enters the planning process with the same goal each year; talking about this year’s event Carver explained, “Forty-two restaurants participated in our last fall event. We want to surpass that number each year! This helps show the scope of the Southeast’s culinary scene and keeps customers coming back, time and again to enjoy our many great eateries.”

The following is a list of ways Encore promotes ERW:

  • www.EncoreRestaurantWeek.com (listing ALL participants and their menus)
  • 8-week full-page ad run in encore (begins Sept.) leading up to the event
  • Over 20,000 ERW books distributed the month of the event, including book insertions into encore the week of the event
  • Radio ads on stations from Hometown Media, Cumulus Broadcasting and Sunrise Broadcasting
  • Print ads in local publications (TBD)
  • Print ads in Raleigh’s Independent (alternative weekly)
  • Online coverage through Port City Foodies, Foodie Confidential, Wine and Walnuts, Wilmington Restaurant Recs, Burgers and Brews Food Reviews and more!
  • Editorial coverage in local publications and on TV
  • Listings on multiple online calendars: Southern Living, WHQR, Our State, Savor NC

ERW has generated coverage in the following outlets and will be pursuing the same — and more — through ongoing press releases for the event: Greater Wilmington Business Journal • StarNews • Port City Foodies • Charlotte Observer •  Downtown Wilmington Inc. newsletter/blog • Raleigh News and Observer • Cape Fear Convention and Visitors Bureau • WECT • WWAY • FOX News • Open Table • and more!

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“If it’s any indicator to the success of our first six restaurant weeks, www.EncoreRestaurantWeek.com (previously www.WilmingtonRestaurantWeek.com; traffic is rerouted to our new URL) has received well over a million hits since its inception in August 2009. We are able to track every restaurant’s statistic online, according to who viewed the menu, which we’ll provide for all restaurants to see after the week has concluded” Carver detailed about how they are able to help each participating restaurant directly, as well as increase participation in the event and gain recognition year after year.

Encore’s final claim to the success they will achieve as advertising agents of each participating restaurant lies within the ERW Book, which states, “Continuing with our successful marketing tactics, we will publish the ERW book featuring every participant/sponsor, so diners can carry it with them during the week and refer to it easily. Each restaurant gets full-page coverage, listing their logo, a picture, address, phone, Web address, and whether they require reservations, along with their menu(s) and prices for ERW. We will categorize it in sections, with the region’s name and customized logo, i.e. “Pleasure Island Restaurant Week.” and will print over 20,000 copies, to be distributed at encore distribution sites, participating establishments and beyond.” Overall, Encore Restaurant Week appears to be primarily about offering the consumer the chance to enjoy fine dining at lowered prices, when in all actuality there is equal focus on the promotion of each participating restaurant as well.

-Madeline O’Connor

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