Plum Jam restaurants are better known as The Bay Horse in Hurworth, and Muse and Cena in Yarm. The two former are featured in the Michelin Guide – and have been for many years – and all three have been voted in the top five eateries in the area. One has even had a visit from royalty when Prince Harry dropped in!
As anyone who knows The Pack will confirm, we love food and any opportunity to shout about it. So when we were tasked with creating a Summer campaign for three of the best restaurants in the Tees Valley, how could we say no?
Following the news that the restaurants were held in such high esteem locally, owners Jonathan Hall and renowned chef Marcus Bennett tasked us with building on this reputation and showcasing their team through PR and social media activity.
The target market however was simple – anyone looking for a place to eat in the Tees Valley.
Each restaurant within the group is unique, with specific styles, menus and price-points, but they all have one thing in common; they create incredible food.
Following a session with Jonathan to get to know what had and hadn’t worked in the past and where he would like to focus his efforts, we developed a plan of activity for the Summer months to focus on the team, their links with the area and successes within the business.
The campaign began by getting to know each team member and restaurant. We did this with:
With this information we then developed a social media campaign to run across the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts for each eatery. This activity included personal profiles, images of food, the restaurants, customers, decoration and special events.
We tied into awareness days using the information discovered through the questionnaires and celebrated each team member’s birthday that fell during the campaign.
But social media was only part of the campaign. We also sought PR opportunities, ultimately deciding to work with Living North East, published by Newsquest, to spread the message to a more traditional audience and older demographic.
As the team behind the restaurants had some fantastic news to share, we also wrote and distributed three press releases to local media.
Marcus, a renowned chef in his own right, personally recruited, developed and mentored each of the head chefs within the group which has lead to a strong, capable team.
With the four partners having a collective 100 years of experience as restaurateurs, we thought this was something that could be built on throughout the campaign. So, ‘Chef Factor’ was born.
The competition, promoted on social media and in press, was aimed at developing the next generation of chefs and proving an opportunity to learn from a top team.
Entries were encouraged across social media by submitting a dish, preferably created from scratch. From this, three finalists were chosen who went head-to-head in a live cooking final held at Darlington College. The competition was judged by head chefs James Burkhart and Paul Brown alongside Marcus himself.
The winner was offered a work placement at The Bay Horse, giving her an opportunity to learn the workings of a kitchen with potential to progress within a career in hospitality.
Over three issues of Living North East, we secured:
The three press releases that were issued resulted in a total of 29 pieces of coverage.