Itihaas – Spicing up the restaurant’s PR and social media


Birmingham PR Agency Clarity Comms Itihaas case study

Itihaas Restaurant – PR Case Study: The Highlights

24 pieces of media coverage over 3 months

8 rave reviews from respected food bloggers

Sell-out whisky and fine dining event

100% positive coverage

 

The Challenge

Itihaas is a successful restaurant and wedding caterer, traditionally catering to corporate professionals and high earners.

Despite the focus on authentic cuisine from the Indian Subcontinent, the restaurant decided it needed to make a greater impact with the ‘foodie’ community. People in this market are highly attuned to food trends, concerned with provenance, and approach dining as an immersive experience.

Birmingham, where the restaurant is based, has a rich community of foodies, including both traditional food journalists and influential food bloggers. A third column is formed by highly active social media users sharing their opinions and recommendations on Twitter, TripAdvisor and Facebook.

These were the people the restaurant had to reach and impress.

Our Approach

We needed to create something to achieve three objectives:

  • Create news that would underline the restaurant’s foodie credentials
  • Bring foodies into the restaurant to experience the venue at first-hand
  • Build influential recommendations that would resonate with foodie audiences

What We Did

Over a 3-month period, we attacked the goals on several fronts, boosting the restaurant’s reputation with the foodie community via a combination of topical PR, social media, media relations and events.

Topical PR

To tell the story of the restaurant’s commitment to authentic ingredients, we commissioned local artists to create a striking giant Indian flag using coriander, basmati rice, and turmeric.

The photography was released on Indian Independence Day, with a press release conveying the message:

 “Nearly 70 years after independence, Indian cuisine remains a much-loved part of British life. High-quality Indian food requires the best ingredients, and the British consumer today is demanding an authentic experience, which we always aim to give.”

Social media

We overhauled the restaurant’s social media activity, shifting the focus from offers and bookings promotion, to showcasing the food, ingredients and chefs.

‘Food porn’ is a well-documented trend, which we adopted by regularly sharing highly attractive images of food and drink.

We also included detailed descriptions of ingredients and preparation, to highlight the craftsmanship involved in bringing a dish from kitchen to table.

Media relations

In the food space, media has changed dramatically.

Whereas once restaurants were at the sole mercy of newspaper reviewers, they now also have the opportunity to reach a group of key online influencers – the bloggers.

We created an intimate evening of dining and entertainment, inviting 6 members of this influential group to discover the restaurant and its delights.

Events

We wanted to bring food lovers into the restaurant, and create news to resonate with the local foodie audience.

We decided to put on a consumer event to showcase the Itihaas dining experience.

But in a city well-versed in Indian cuisine, a simple dinner at the venue would not be enough. We needed to create an innovative tasting event.

So we reached out to The Birmingham Whisky Club, an organisation that has built kudos among local foodies with its programme of whisky and food masterclasses.

Together we created a 7-course whisky and Indian cuisine menu for the night.

 

The Results

The campaign was a huge success helping to drive changes in perceptions of Itihaas. The first event generated 8 rave reviews from respected food bloggers with 100% positive coverage generated.

We got food journalists and bloggers talking excitedly about Itihaas generating 24 items of coverage over 3 months including a piece on global entertainment website Buzzfeed.

The whisky event was a huge success bringing 60 foodies to sell out evening matching Indian cuisine with different whiskies.

We saw great results on social media with a 30% growth in Facebook audience and a doubling of average Facebook engagement rate, from 1.9% to 3.7%. We also drove a 26% organic growth inTwitter audience.