Monday, November 21, 2011
Next Restaurant: Changing the Face of Experiential Marketing
As far as experiential marketing goes, Next Restaurant, led by celebrity chef Grant Achatz, got it right. He took the positive attributes of a night at the theater, and created a hybrid within the restaurant industry. Achatz tackled the issues that many restaurants struggle with on a daily basis, such as attrition and expenses, and shed a new light on the fine dining environment.
As a self-proclaimed Chicago foodie and an innovative marketing enthusiast, after hearing about Next Restaurant, I was immediately intrigued. Instead of calling to make a reservation, you purchase tickets online. Instead of always offering the same options, every three months the restaurant completely changes. Instead of paying a fortune at an off-hour, if you go at 4 p.m., your meal is less expensive.
Next realized that in order to be a success, the restaurant needed to generate buzz and build hype, in addition to the stellar food. To do so, they began a social media initiative, which led people to their web site. Once on the web site, people had to sign up for tickets. This is where the experience really began. There was high demand and tickets were released incrementally.
Once tickets were secured, the experience continued. Patrons received an e-mail telling them what the “theme” of the restaurant was for their visit. Every three months, the entire restaurant, from the décor to the menu, was completely revamped.
Achatz and his team worked to create a phenomenal experience, which led to more buzz and more work online. This cyclical marketing is what ultimately made Next a success in the fine dining and experiential marketing realm.
By Hillary Grey