CASE STUDY: Grand Openings Built For Busy Franchisees
Franchisees opening a new restaurant have different needs—and budgets—than large corporate organizations-, but one thing that both need are solid PR support.
Tropical Smoothie Café’s (TSC) franchise model has received numerous accolades from sources such as Entrepreneur, Franchise Times and QSR. The fast-casual food and smoothie chain currently boasts more than 540 restaurants…. and growing! Franchisees in these locations needed a way to build brand awareness and garner excitement for their new units without spending excessive time or money on a grand opening event.
That’s where Ink Link Marketing comes into action. The full-service communications agency was brought in to provide a solution to busy franchisees by planning grand openings that excite internal and external audiences, as well as generate press and sales with maximum buzz and minimal out-of-pocket expense.
Ink Link’s modus operandi is to link their resources to develop the plans and tactics that deliver profits for clients. Their team has more than 35 years of collective PR and marketing experience that includes an extensive amount of grand opening experience. They helped open more than 40 Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations, and team members have helped open hundreds of units for other quick-service and casual dining brands across the country and the globe. With the thousands of hours committed to grand openings, they’ve gained expert status and the results speak for themselves.
While operators focused on what they do best by offering quality service and products that make guests happy and come back for more, Ink Link did what they do best by helping bring in those guests from the start.
The strategy was to leverage the brand’s best assets: its fresh, healthy food and its fun, friendly atmosphere - as a means to generate interest with local reporters, bloggers and thought leaders. The grand result is having a line out the door on opening day!
In addition to their shining personalities, there’s a lot of method to Ink Link’s opening day grandness. At the core of their success are detailed checklists that keep them on point as they work with the Tropical Smoothie Café corporate team and the franchisee to tackle all tasks related to the grand opening. The following are some of the primary tactics that have contributed to the desired results:
Drafting customized press materials including, but not limited to advisories, releases, talking points, and Q&A documents;
Developing PR hooks to attract media and new customers to the brand and grand opening events;
Identifying and building in-market relationship with key media contacts and influencers within the trade area;
Drafting and securing customized calendar listings on local high trafficked sites regarding the grand opening event;
Coordinating, executing and following up on product drops to television and radio stations. Media training is provided for franchisees and TSC staff who participate so they can represent the brand confidently;
Requesting and writing proclamations from local officials;
Inviting Chambers of Commerce representatives and other dignitaries to a grand opening ceremony;
Delivering post-releases including photos with cutlines from the grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting to local media; drafting thank you notes for VIP attendees.
Studies conducted by Tropical Smoothie Café found that locations that used Ink Link’s services earned more local media coverage surrounding their grand openings, which contributed to awareness and revenues. Click HERE for some media samples.
Ink Link Marketing has handled more than 40 openings for the brand.
Ink Link was tapped to revamp Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s existing Grand Opening Manual and provide a detailed handbook that offered step-by-step instructions, templates, checklists and all the nuts and bolts needed to ensure successful openings.