MINNEAPOLIS: Italian restaurant chain Buca di Beppo is launching an 18-city, three-month media tour to tout a new cookbook and garner media exposure for its restaurants.
The chain has hired Minneapolis-based agency The Maccabee Group to handle local media relations in each city, as well as national media efforts aimed at food publications and broadcast outlets. The tour begins October 11 in Los Angeles, and is tentatively set to end in December in Chicago.
Both the chain's executive chef and its vintner will appear in various cities as part of the tour, said Krista Forsberg, promotions and PR manager for Buca, the parent company for the restaurants.
Touting the new book, which is called Into the Sauce and includes recipes and behind-the-scenes stories about Buca, "gives us an opportunity to go back and visit the markets where we've had grand openings or other events, and gives us something new to talk about," Forsberg said.
The book will be offered for sale in restaurants and on the company website.
Book sales and restaurant traffic will be two measures used to gauge the campaign's success, Forsberg explained.
"What better way to keep us top of mind than to have our cookbook sitting on people's shelves?" she said. "We think our cookbook is going to give our customers a slice of what they experience in the restaurant."
Buca serves its southern Italian dishes family-style, and stresses family dining experiences - characteristics Forsberg thinks fit the general national mood. "Families are looking for ways to reconnect, and people are really looking for value. Buca di Beppo offers value, and everything is served family-style," she said.
Earlier this year, Buca was named one of the top 50 growth chains by Restaurant Business magazine.
The nine-year-old company reported 2001 sales of $175.6 million, a 35.3% jump from 2000.