California Pizza Kitchen heats up PR AOR review

The chain wants to have an agency in place by the start of Q2.

Photo credit: Getty images
Photo credit: Getty images

PLAYA VISTA, CA: California Pizza Kitchen is searching for a new PR AOR for an account worth between $15,000 and $18,000 a month.

The chain asked agencies to express interest in the work by January 7, with formal RFP responses due by January 25. The chain is planning to host presentations at its Playa Vista, California, offices on February 25 and notify the winner on March 8. Work on the account would begin on April 1.

Los Angeles-based Coast PR is the company’s current AOR, said Kathleen Bush, VP of public relations.

"We have been very happy with our partnership and proud of the great work produced," she said in an emailed statement. "However, we are in the process of fielding an RFP to broaden our support in 2019."

A Coast PR representative did not reply to requests for comment.

The chain wants to increase brand awareness and promote its "California state of mind" theme. Specifically, it would require the selected firm to support the chain’s business with national and regional brand-building campaigns; new restaurant openings and market entries; national promotions and product launches; influencer marketing; executive communications; and crisis communications support. The agency could also be called on to work with other firms for the chain’s push to sell pizzas in grocery stores via a licensing deal with Nestle.

The RFP also asked for applicants with a strong restaurant and hospitality practice and experience conducting national, regional, and local consumer-facing campaigns; market entries; restaurant openings; product launches; and national promotions.

Applying agencies are expected to have established business, trade, and consumer media relationships, as well as social media and influencer marketing expertise. The winning agency would also be required to provide support across the U.S. and local market expertise and staffing in the chain’s designated market areas inside and outside of California.

California Pizza Kitchen was a publicly traded company from August 2000 until July 2011 when it was purchased by private equity company Golden Gate Capital in a $470 million deal.  

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