BIRMINGHAM, AL: Mediterranean-inspired restaurant chain Zoës Kitchen has selected Formula PR as its agency partner for national outreach and new market entry.
After having conversations with several agencies, the company picked Formula because of its food experience, strategic thinking, and consumer lifestyle expertise, said Rachel Phillips-Luther, VP of marketing at Zoës.
She added that the brand will continue working with its regional agency partner for the last two years, Nuñez PR Group, on increasing awareness and helping with new store openings in existing markets.
Formula is tasked with raising national awareness for the brand as it enters new parts of the country, said Phillips-Luther. Zoës is planning to enter the Philadelphia area in 2013, she added, and it is considering other regions. The chain is based in the Southern US.
“We're excited to be at the helm of bringing Mediterranean food to the fast casual segment because fast casual is a great fit for today's consumer in terms of their lifestyles,” she said.
The brand was also impressed with Formula's willingness to meet the Zoës' challenges, such as misconceptions and only having a presence in 12 states, Phillips-Luther said.
“We hired Formula to bring strategic counsel and creative thinking to the majority of our programs, but also to identify how best to tell the Zoës story and incorporate some really credible messaging,” she explained. “There is a lot of confusion today about Mediterranean cuisine because a lot of consumers think Mediterranean means Greek.”
With a team of five staffers on the account, Formula will work with the brand to change consumers' perception of Mediterranean food and raise its national profile in both the b-to-b and b-to-c sectors, said Formula president Michael Olguin. The b-to-b outreach will focus on Zoës' move into the catering business.
Through national promotions, partnerships, blogger engagement, consumer lifestyle and food media outreach, and third-party influencer engagement possibly targeting dieticians and nutritionists, Formula will work to increase brand recognition around the country, said Olguin.
The target demographic for Zoës has traditionally been female consumers and families, but Phillips-Luther said “as more and more women introduce men to Zoës, the mix is starting to shift.”