Restaurant week highlights Kansas City food scene

Page Communications has been hired by Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association and Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association for the last three years to help on an annual restaurant week event.

Client: Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association and Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association (Kansas City, MO)
Agency: Page Communications (Kansas City, MO)
Campaign: 2013 Kansas City Restaurant Week
Duration: September 15, 2012 – January 31, 2013
Budget: about $15,000 ($5,000 donated in-kind by the agency)

Page Communications has been hired by Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association (CVA) and Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association for the last three years to help on an annual restaurant week event (January 18 to 27 this year). Participating restaurants donated 10% of restaurant week menu sales to local nonprofits.

“We launched the event four years ago to raise the profile of the Kansas City food scene among locals and visitors; invigorate business during a slower time of year for our restaurant members; and give back to local charities,” explains CVA senior communications manager Derek Klaus.

Strategy
Media and blogger relations, social media outreach, microsite KCRestaurantWeek.com, a mobile app, and ads drove awareness.

“We also reached out to metro-area media asking for partnerships to spread the message across the urban core and suburban communities,” says agency partner Travis Joyal.

Tactics
Fifty media kits that looked like menus were delivered to traditional media outlets and food bloggers in to-go bags that included giveaways from participating restaurants.

Feeder-market outlets and select national outlets covering travel, food, and restaurants were also pitched.

Two weeks prior to the event, 11 local deejays and five top local food bloggers visited participating restaurants and promoted them and the event. The “deejay dine-around” was part of a half paid, half in-kind deal with Wilks Broadcasting.

A January 8 kickoff party was attended by media and bloggers, event founders, restaurant owners and managers, sponsors, civic leaders, and in-kind donors. Leading local Yelpers were hosted immediately afterward.  

Two local photographers donated images of restaurant week dishes that were used in promotional materials.

KCRestaurantWeek.com provided robust information, including video menu previews and an event app.

The agency regularly posted updates to the event's Facebook and Twitter pages. Hashtag #KCRW2013 was created for the event. Restaurant gift card sweepstakes ran weekly between November and January on the event's Facebook page.

CVA's in-house team promoted the event on Foursquare and Instagram.

Results
KCRestaurantWeek.com got 910,534 page views October 1 to January 27, up 52% compared to the same months the previous year (the goal was a 25% increase). The site got record traffic January 16 to 23, and Klaus says visits accounted for 60% of all VisitKC.com visits during the 10-day event.

The mobile app got 11,942 downloads (100% more than in 2012), and was opened 25,077 times.

Facebook results include 5,104 new likes in January (more than double the previous total likes); 1,761 sweepstakes entries; 4,074 link shares; and 799 newsletter opt-ins.

Twitter followers increased 26% November 1 to January 28. The hashtag garnered 1.2 million impressions.

Earned placements doubled over 2012, with more than 100 stories running in outlets including the Chicago Tribune.

Klaus reports that with about 75% of restaurants reporting, donations currently top $100,000.

“We're optimistic we'll eclipse last year's total of $140,000 and hit our goal of $154,000 donated,” he adds. “This time last year about $80,000 had been reported.” 

Future
Klaus is considering hosting national food bloggers for National Barbecue Month (May).

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