Jennifer Goulart Amero, the director of PR and marketing for the Serenitee Restaurant Group, knows that the end-of-the-year holidays can get a little crazy. But rather than stress during the season, she makes sure that each of the group’s seven restaurants embrace the craziness and take it to a whole new level.
She explains that each restaurant has a passion for doing things that are untraditional and unconventional, whether that’s the Thanksgiving Beer Dinner at Alchemy Bistro, or the Nightmare Circus at Latitude, Serenitee's biggest establishment. “Every time there’s a major holiday, Latitude does something that’s totally over the top,” she says. “It’s edgy, but we keep it classy, too.”
The Nightmare Circus
This coming Saturday will mark the second annual Nightmare Circus at Latitude. Diners are sure to know that they’re in for a treat as soon as they see the door, which will be transformed into a cobwebbed portal to another world, complete with dangling skeletons.
Last year, there were belly dancers, flame spinners, sword balancers, hula hoopers, and a big-name DJ to entertain diners, and most of the performers will be making a return for this celebration. And that lengthy list doesn't even cover all of the excitement that will be happening in the indoor bigtop, which creates an atmosphere that takes "dinner and a show" to a whole new level.
“Last year, the hula hoopers were dancing right on the edge of the sushi pit,” Jennifer recalls. “They had LED lights on the hoops and the lights in the restaurant went out, so that was pretty cool.”
The festivities at Latitude are sure to intrigue diners both young and old. Amid all the crackling fireballs, flashing blades, and glowing hula hoops, there will be a dance floor, a costume contest, and other giveaways.
Hula hoopers dance around the glowing sushi pit octopus at Latitude's last Nightmare Circus
Spookily Social Emails
Jennifer keeps customers up-to-date about events like the Nightmare Circus with her email marketing savvy, trying to keep people on their toes with each newsletter. Just last month, the subject line for an email about a beer dinner was “168 Hours Until Beer Thirty.” Right on the heels of that email, Jennifer sent out the newsletter for the Halloween happening – “Spooktacular Things Are Happening at Serenitee Restaurants.”
“You’ve got to give people a reason to open them,” she says of her emails' colorful subject lines. And for Jennifer, the subject line is just the tip of the iceberg. Each email is packed with news, events, and coupons, and encourages subscribers to share things with their friends and keep track of the latest developments of deals and celebrations on Twitter and Facebook. Take a look:
Part of Serenitee Restaurant Group's Halloween email
Constant Contact, which she has been using for around two years, is Jennifer’s most-used marketing tool. That doesn’t mean that it’s her only one. Jennifer quickly leapt into social media, which she saw as a valuable complement to her email marketing efforts. She adds the social share bar to every one of her emails so subscribers can spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
And has combing email marketing and social media been successful?
“During our beer week, our email had 7,000 readers, all because people were sharing our newsletter on Twitter and Facebook,” Jennifer says. That’s an impressive number, given that an average Serenitee Restaurant Group newsletter is usually read by around 800 people. “The beer distributors wanted to get people to come, obviously, and then other people were just deciding where they should go to dinner,” she adds.
The extra boost given by social media is additionally great for Serenitee Restaurant Group as a parent company, because there is always something going on at one of the establishments, whether it’s a big event like the Nightmare Circus, a hot-wing eating contest, or a raffle (which helps Jennifer build her list of contacts).
The holiday season is just starting to heat up with the Nightmare Circus. The restaurants have changed their menus to include seasonal dishes like pumpkin soup. There are also big plans in the works for a Thanksgiving party and, just recently, there was a 20-foot movie screen and seating for 200 people at Serenitee's Outdoor Theater Cafe event.
By combining her email savvy with social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, Jennifer is bound to see lots of customers, new and old, flocking to the events. That doesn’t mean she is stopping there, either – there are already plans to install live webcams in the restaurants, so people can watch the chefs in action.
“When you’re emailing people photos of a restaurant, pictures of an empty dining room are very sad,” Jennifer says. So she does everything in her power to make sure every seat of Serenitee Restaurant Group’s eateries is full, no matter the season.
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