Tag Archive: Tijuana Flats

  1. Case Study: How to Spice Up Your Brand Launch in a New Market

    brand launch

    Just about any company views growth as an intentional strategy and sign of success. However, when expanding into new markets, brands often find themselves starting from scratch. When a brand finds a formula that works in one market, it can be seductive and invigorating to make it a success in other markets. Here is the warning label: Breaking into a new market can be very challenging.  

    When companies try to bring their existing product or services to a new market, the story often does not end well. The reason, of course, is that each market is special and nuanced. Knowing the market up and down, backward and forward, inside and out, is vital. One of the most important parts of the process is the first impression, also known as the launch. To that end, partnering with experts who can help you launch your company in a new market is one of the key ingredients in making the growth effort a big win.

    The Case: Flats Growing Fast

    Tijuana Flats is growing rapidly. The fast-casual Tex-Mex restaurant known for its flavorful, fun menu items and “Flat-Outrageous” attitude may have been founded in Florida, but it hasn’t taken long for word to spread. Franchises have started in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Indiana, but its newest location, Richmond, Virginia, had a common challenge to overcome before their taco takeover could begin.

    This brand launch had to be handled with strategy and care in order to win over Richmonders even before their first bite of burrito or chomp of chimichanga. Like many businesses experiencing growth and debuting in a new market, it took a key strategy that your business may be able to leverage when the time is right–even if you’re not in the taco trade.

    brand launch

    The Strategy: Piñatas and Community Partnerships

    The Findsome & Winmore public relations team had one job to do, but it was a big one: spread the good word of Tijuana Flats and its tasty Tex-Mex goodness. To do so, they crafted an in-depth integrated strategy that included consumer activation, media outreach and full digital media strategy–a strategy that began with piñatas.

    As an initial announcement to the Richmond community, the agency helped choose key locations within the community to place a dozen giant piñatas filled with “Flats Cash” gift cards and other taco-themed goodies. These locations included local universities like the Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond, as well as the Children’s Museum and Lombardy Park. Bolstered by media attention gained through strategic outreach, even if a Richmonder missed the piñata sightings for themselves, chances are they heard about them from friends or read about them in one of these outlets. Visibility is vital with a brand launch in a new market, and that’s exactly what these efforts won in Richmond.

    brand launch

    But it wasn’t just piñatas. The team also created and implemented ads that drove visitors to content promoting the store grand opening, generating thousands of new site visits. The ads themselves received over a half million impressions as well. Though this attention did bolster sales, it also created an impact on a community service level–something Tijuana Flats has always encouraged.

    Partnering with the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Tijuana Flats raised substantial funds through training meal sales. This children’s hospital will continue to benefit from the restaurant, as it was officially chosen as the partner for Tijuana Flats’ Just in Queso Foundation, a non-profit that funds local charities in the communities the company serves. Though surely a good karma move, partnering is also a fantastic way to connect with a new market, leading to local goodwill and real business benefits. Don’t discount the power of serving your new community.

    Through these grand opening and launch-specific promotional strategies, Tijuana Flats opened with a bang. From the outside-of-the-box piñata placements combined with an integrated ad campaign, each of these individual elements led to a memorable first impression and, with any luck, long-lasting success in Richmond.

    Breaking into a new market is always a tall order. Even if your business isn’t a restaurant or even retail, finding the knowledgeable partners, understanding your audience segments, learning about the area and embracing the community are all critical steps to making a splash in a new market. Never underestimate the power of the perfect first impression


  2. How to Plan a Blogger Event

    Whether you’re a clothing company looking to spread the word about a new line or a restaurant debuting a seasonal menu item, garnering attention for your brand often involves looking beyond traditional media outlets and reaching out to another group of influencers: bloggers.

    Unlike traditional media, bloggers have a niche following that is hyper-specific to a certain region or topic (e.g. food), and they typically boast large social media audiences that consist of followers who have a vested interest in said topic. For these reasons and more, blogger events are an excellent tactic for shedding light on a product or service.

    So, how do you plan one?

    While it is always a good idea to enlist the help of an expert when planning and executing your next blogger event, here are a few key elements for creating the perfect event.

    • Create a Targeted Blogger List: Similar to building traditional media lists, finding the right bloggers for your event means spending a good deal of time scouring Google and browsing social media. While this step may seem straightforward, it is essential to remember that not all bloggers in your city – or even all bloggers covering a particular topic – are a good fit for your event. When searching, always take the time to read recent blog posts, check a blogger’s social media credentials, and review how often a blogger posts before adding them to your list. The last thing you want is to give a spot away to someone who won’t move the needle for your brand!

      For the popular Tex-Mex restaurant, Tijuana Flats, we were tasked with drumming up attention for their exciting, new “Flat Outrageous” menu. Considering that they have a substantial presence in multiple markets across the Southeast, we created a vetted blogger list of foodies, mommy bloggers and around-the-town bloggers in Raleigh, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, North Miami, Charleston, Savannah, Charlotte, Columbia and Winston-Salem (all cities home to Tijuana Flats restaurants).
    • Decide on a Theme: This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to transform your event space with thousands of dollars worth of decorations, but it might! The theme of your event is an important aspect in getting bloggers to show. For example, hosting a tasting at your restaurant to showcase a new menu item is great, but hosting a “Summer Menu Preview” with wine pairings from a local vineyard is even more enticing. Planning blogger events around seasons, holidays, or even brand-specific initiatives establishes a theme and gives event attendees something to talk (and blog) about.

      Following our Tijuana Flats example, we crafted the theming for this event largely around the brand’s strong, highly playful persona that is all about embodying an attitude as bold as their flavors.
    • Create a Hashtag: Optimizing your blogger event to the fullest means reaching a blogger’s audiences across all platforms, including social media. The goal of a blogger event should never just be a one-time write-up from attendees; instead, create a hashtag so attendees can share their experiences in real-time on social media, and so your own social media audience can follow along.
      There are many strategies involved with hashtag creation and implementation, but a hashtag for your blogger event should be creative, related to your theme or company, and relatively short (you don’t want bloggers using up all 140 characters on the hashtag and leaving no room to talk about the event itself). According to SproutSocial, tweets with hashtags receive 55% more retweets and twice as much engagement as tweets without, meaning most any professional blogger is utilizing them. Make sure your official hashtag is in their mix.

      For our Tijuana Flats blogger event, we promoted the brands’ #FlatOutrageous hashtag to ensure all media attention, and fan interaction, could be easily followed and built around the new menu items.
    • Offer an Incentive: Events surrounding food or free experiences typically offer enough of an incentive to get bloggers to attend, but other initiatives may be trickier. Depending on your end goal and what you’re promoting, incentivizing attendees is the best way to receive a high number of RSVPs and glowing post-event reviews.

      As you may expect, Tijuana Flats’ incentives came in the form of delicious dishes straight off of the Flat Outrageous menu, available to sample at the guests’ leisure. Ensuring all of the offerings were top-notch was extremely important, as this first impression was definitely one that counted.
    • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!: Sending an initial invitation doesn’t mean you’ve done all you can do to get a blogger to your event. Following up with those who have not RSVP’d, in addition to those who have RSVP’d, is an important step in ensuring that all your targeted bloggers attend your event.

      We communicated with bloggers before, during and after the event, ensuring they had everything they needed to accurately write their articles and share their experiences on social media.

    While planning a blogger event can seem overwhelming, following this criteria can help alleviate the anxiety surrounding RSVPs and event plans, while also resulting in targeted, positive coverage for your brand or initiative.