Social Smoke Out: Sam’s All American Sports Grill (Hospitality)
A social media and publicity campaign helps a neighborhood establishment go smoke free.
For more than a decade, Sam’s Sports Grill has been a Hillsboro Village favorite. Its customers will tell you that the consistently good food, friendly service, complete televised access to nearly every sports event imaginable and comfortable atmosphere is what keeps them coming back.
In beginning our engagement with Sam’s, we conducted an online customer survey to determine the brand’s strengths and weaknesses. One finding was that most customers wanted Sam’s to go non-smoking.
Based on this finding, as well as online reviews and feedback from social media and face-to-face conversations with Sam’s patrons, the restaurant decided to become a non-smoking establishment. It asked the Bradford Group to develop a plan that put the customer first and offered them the ultimate sports experience.
Our communications plan was two-pronged. First, we fully informed regular clientele, especially smokers, about the coming change so that they weren’t caught off guard. We did this by:
- Sending e-mail alerts to customers.
- Creating talking points for staff.
- Ramping up positive online reviews about Sam’s and its switch to non-smoking
- Offering incentives to loyal customers who used to smoke at Sam’s.
Second, we spread the word to the larger community in order to attract new customers who had avoided Sam’s because it was a smoking establishment. We did this by:
- Pitching the story to all local media: TV, print and blogs.
- Partnering with the American Cancer Society, which spread the news to its supporters that Sam’s was donating 10 percent of all proceeds of business on the day of the smoking policy change. This partnership also helped enhance news coverage.
- Running a social media blitz that added 106 Facebook fans and 53 Twitter followers
The switch to non-smoking went off with out a hitch. Sam’s attracted new customers and most smoking customers, who felt listened to instead of steamrolled, continued to patronize the restaurant – taking smoking breaks in the outside area Sam’s set aside for this purpose.
We generated overwhelmingly positive news coverage from Fox 17, Channel 2, The Tennessean, Nashville Scene, Her Nashville and various local blogs. The media coverage had a potential reach of 201,930 and an overall value of $18,067.80.