Mouncey & Company served as Tuskie's Restaurant Group’s Marketing Department for over eight years, starting in the Spring of 2009.
The nation was still in a deep recession, and restaurant sales were down all over. Tuscarora Mill, the County’s leading Fine Dining Restaurant, needed new customers to enjoy its fine dining New American cuisine.
We developed a totally new approach to Tuskie’s advertising — featuring the local farmers and agricultural businesses that provided the farm-fresh local ingredients that Tuskie's used in its fine dining menu.
It involved the use of food photography and more meaningful ads that put Tuscarora Mill and TRG restaurants in a new light, that was built upon their foundation of having been the pioneers in local Farm to Table sourcing.
We conceived this light-hearted 24” x 36” folding map, a guide to the wineries in Loudoun County and nearby. This capitalized on the emerging Winery Tourism business. Loudoun had 24 wineries then (now 43), 12 B&B’s, (now 21) and eight local Leesburg hotels. We included them all in the largest and, to the best of our knowledge, the most successful co-op promotion ever created in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Local wineries loved the Tuskie’s Wine Trail Map, which sent many new customers their way. The B&B’s and the hotels loved the Tuskie’s Wine Trail Map and used it to guide their customers to thousands of new visits to area wineries and TRG restaurants.
We quickly followed the Tuskie’s Wine Trail Map with a second dynamic promotion, “Virginia Uncorked”, in which local winery customers could bring a bottle of their favorite local wine (and a same day receipt), and have it opened at their meal at any one of the Tuskie’s restaurants with no corkage fee. That was a $15 savings for the customer, plus a net extra sale for the wineries, and the chance of landing a new lifetime customer for one Tuskie’s Group Restaurants.
This promotion was a win, win, win: Winery Customers loved it, because they could pair a bottle of their favorite wine from that day's winery visits.
The wineries loved it because it gave them the chance for a net extra sale to every customer departing for dinner.
The Tuskie's Restaurant Group loved it because they got many new customers that became regular customers, lowering their demographic and building their long-term business.
Tuscarora Mill’s Facebook Page had 2250 Followers in 2013 when we recommended a test of new visual content: food photos.
We theorized that appetizing images of food would stimulate viewer appetites and build engagement on their Social Media Pages. If many more people were looking at appetizing photos of the foods at Tuskie’s, we figured there ought to be a strong positive effect on viewer engagement and sales. We began the test using photos that had been shot by professional photographers over the preceding six years.
The effect was immediate, and significant. Appetizing photos of the foods served at Tuskie’s were a big hit on their Facebook Page, generating many Likes, Comments and Shares, and adding significantly to Tuskie’s base of Followers. We also began testing targeted, paid Facebook ads of our Posts to see if that would increase the positive effect on Tuskie’s business. That worked effectively as well as efficiently.
After we had used all the photos shot by professional photographers many times each, we began taking food photos. Over time, we improved our food photography skills to the point where our Social Media engagement scores were equal to the scores generated by the professional photographs.
Tuscarora Mill’s Facebook Page grew to over 9,800 Followers, a 400% increase over five years, and a big growth asset for the brand.
The Tuskie's Wine Trail Map and Virginia Uncorked Promotions were recognized with Grants from the Wine Marketing Board and Visit Loudoun, on three separate occasions totaling over $12,500 to be used for production of promotion materials.