The Red Lentil

Watertown, Massachusetts // Vegan Restaurant Brand Relaunch & Promotion

The Challenge

When the chef and manager of this award-winning vegan restaurant approached us back in 2011, they told an all-too-familiar story:

Their marketing person had abandoned them, and they were in desperate sudden need of all levels of brand marketing support—website maintenance, social media, email marketing, print design, and campaign management.

Our relationship and crisis communications kicked to a new level when, on April 19, 2013, the Boston Marathon bombing occurred. We united to build a campaign to raise money for One Fund Boston. And yet again during COVID-19.

And in 2021, we launched their second location in Sharon, MA, gaining visibility among over 115,000 people within just two months (see case study).

Thanksgiving poster design

The Strategy

We have worked for years to maximize the restaurant’s exposure, attract and keep loyal customers, and further their already stellar reputation in the neighborhood. We maintain their active marketing & PR presence on all levels.

  • Design: We have redesigned their menus and business cards to have a more rustic feel, which corresponds with sustainable and design upgrades they were making to the interior of the restaurant.
  • Campaigns: We develop posters, double-sided table cards, email marketing campaigns, and manage social media events, posts, and interaction for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Awards: We create email campaigns and social media posts to encourage voting and to spread the word. Our efforts to promote their nomination for the 2013 People’s Choice Nature’s Plate Award helped them win by popular vote.
  • Featured Spots: We promoted the chef’s appearance on television shows, such as Beat Bobby Flay, and food demos at trade shows and on local television stations.

Restaurant website redesign

The Relaunch

In July 2019, we relaunched the restaurant’s website with a fully responsive design, integrated with Gift Up (electronic gift cards) with PayPal, GrubHub, and ChowNow.

As the only vegan caterer in the Boston area, we shifted a large portion of the content focus to this amazing service, including an intake form and extensive catering menu.

We laid out their print menus in an easy-to-read online format. And we included information on the chef’s featured Vegan University program, where he has partnered with MIT, Brandeis, and Harvard to educate students on vegan dietary choices.

The Holidays

The Red Lentil Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurant conducts a variety of simultaneous or overlapping holiday promotions from Thanksgiving through till the New Year.

Particularly for brick-n-mortar businesses with e-commerce shops, strategy is key to keeping customers engaged online and in-house. You don’t want to over-sell and exhaust them.

During the holidays, there is a big push, and that requires organization and strategy. Their campaigns were:

  • Thanksgiving Harvest Dinner
  • Vegan catering – new to the scene, needed urgency to get bookings
  • Black Friday gift card promotion
  • Christmas Eve Dinner
  • Ongoing holiday gift card + bonus card promotion

Email Campaigns

The Results

  • Facebook & Instagram posts experienced incredible engagement. No events or posts were boosted. $0 PPC advertising dollars were spent.
  • Thanksgiving Harvest Dinner event sold out.
  • Over $4000 in online gift card sales generated in just 5 weeks.
  • Hundreds saw and/or responded to their Facebook Event and email marketing.

The Strong Campaign

The Red Lentil attracted some unforeseen press following the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon. The ensuing manhunt took place in their neighborhood. Local and national news featured the restaurant as a landmark; the shootout that took place was just a block away.

We received a call early the next morning. The chef and the staff had decided to serve brunch for free for 5 hours the next day, a gesture they hoped would help heal the community. We had less than 24 hours to attract as much viral reach and press as we could.

  • We updated their WordPress website by adding a Boston Strong–related slide to the homepage slider and creating a landing page that we could drive people back to throughout the day.
    Results: 456% increase in visits; 1900+ visits to landing page
  • Our most aggressive tactic, we used Facebook to make the brunch go viral. We changed their cover photo and created a Facebook event. Then starting promoting it (unpaid).
    Results: The initial promotional post was seen by 17,500+ people, shared 130 times, received 188 likes, and commented on numerous times.
  • Twitter provided excellent access to local media and helped push the event to a new level, particularly with the use of hashtags like #BostonStrong. People sent out pictures from the event mostly from Twitter and we kept the interaction going and showed our appreciation.
  • We sent an email to their list to promote this event.
    Results: 52.32% open rate, 29.81% click-through rate
  • We reached out to local news media like the Boston Globe to promote the event.

In honor of his generosity, we did not charge the client for this project.