Wild Rice Vegan Cafe

Watertown, Massachusetts // Vegan Restaurant Branding & Launch

The Challenge

A new restaurant brand with a neighborhood sister location. 

The restaurant needed messaging, specifically to distinguish it from its well-established, popular sibling Red Lentil. Both are located right outside Boston.

The chef / owner’s vision for Wild Rice Vegan Cafe was an order-and-go experience. The cafe offers locally sourced vegan breakfast and lunch cuisine. While there is a dining area, patrons order at the counter and there is no waitstaff on hand.

It was essential to manage expectations through messaging and marketing so that patrons—many of whom would be fans of the traditional dining experience at Red Lentil—wouldn’t feel that they were having a lesser dining experience.

The Strategy & Relationship

We saw Wild Rice not only as a hip neighborhood spot but also as a place where local businesspeople and social groups could convene over great food and beverages. We centered our marketing and research efforts around this goal.

We continue to support Wild Rice Vegan Cafe with digital marketing efforts and marketing campaigns, as well as outreach strategy.

  • First came brand name development. We conducted brand consulting sessions with the owner to help define a name that would exemplify the style of restaurant while maintaining consistency with his other location.
  • Then came brand identity, the physical representation of the brand. We began with defining a personality and new logo, centered around the style of service, the food being offered, and interior paint swatches.
  • We created a one-page, responsive microsite to showcase the personality of the cafe, as well as their menu and services.
  • We then designed menus, coupons, announcement cards, and business cards for launch and regular in-house use and distribution.
  • We established and maintain Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Foursquare pages, customizing each with the cafe’s logo and photos. By the first week, we had attracted over 300 Facebook fans through purely organic reach.
  • We set up email templates and sent out email announcements and coupons.

The Launch

We devised and executed the following PR and marketing strategy to launch the restaurant:

  • PR research for local press, bloggers, and foodie and fitness groups, local businesses, and social groups
  • Press release writing, distribution, and followup with media contacts and bloggers for interview requests
  • Design and coordination printing for menu, coupon card, business card, and rack card for grand opening announcement
  • Promotional email and social media outreach to maximize exposure. The email campaign generated a 44.2% open rate and 15.56% click-through. Through solely organic reach (no paid posts), the Facebook event generated 29,000+ hits in overall reach, 1900+ views, and about 500 engagements.
  • The chef was subsequently featured on Boston’s NBC affiliate and the restaurant was written up in the Boston Globe, leading to additional online articles.