A Mouth-Watering Opportunity to Improve Your Restaurant Scene
Every January brings California Restaurant Month, where destinations and restaurants throughout the state will celebrate their unique flavors by showcasing culinary scenes that make people hungry. From “Farm-to-Fork” to “Sea-to-Table,” our Golden State has no shortage of star power chefs that are whipping up delicious food, making our state the No. 1 food travel destination in the country.
How is your destination taking advantage of the opportunity to showcase the best of your local cuisine?
Promotion of a local restaurant week and special events that highlight the culinary experiences of your destination requires funding. Funding for promotional activities is often paid by a small group of restaurants, a destination marketing organization, or from a jurisdiction’s economic development budget. Most of the time the funding and promotional activities varies year to year as budgets fluctuate. What if there was a tool that allowed for year-long, sustainable, and dependable funding for restaurant and culinary promotions?
In 1995, the Newport Beach Restaurant Association saw the need for restaurant owners to collaborate on marketing promotions to raise overall awareness and attract visitors from the Los Angeles region to Newport Beach. They established a citywide district and have since enhanced the Newport Beach culinary experience through collaboration and partnership. Celebrating its 11-year anniversary in 2017, Dine Newport Beach, is a citywide two-week dining event that showcases the coastal community as the premier dining destination. Moreover, Dine Newport Beach holds the title as the longest running restaurant week in Orange County. Results of advertising and promotional activities included 6.6 million advertisement impressions, 75 articles, and 481 social media posts that resulted in over 519,000 social media impressions across both Orange and Los Angeles County.
Restaurant owners in the Sutter District of Midtown Sacramento worked together in 2008 to establish California’s first Restaurant Business Improvement District. Modeled after the success of Tourism Improvement Districts throughout the state, the restaurants elected to self-assess themselves to provide funding for promotional activities to draw more hungry visitors to the Sutter District to eat, drink, and celebrate. The success of the Sutter District encouraged restaurant owners in Sacramento to establish two additional restaurant districts, the Handle District and Central Midtown, that focus on promotional activities, placemaking, and clean and safe programs.
Most recently, restaurant owners in the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea championed the effort to establish a Restaurant Business Improvement District in an effort to “sit at the table” with the lodging community. “Carmel-by-the-Sea would be a ghost town without tourism. Two-thirds of our city revenues are derived from the tourism industry,” says Richard Pèpe, owner of Little Napoli and five other restaurants in Carmel. “Establishing an RBID allows our restaurants to band together and market and promote cohesively and aggressively and compete with much larger cities up and down the California coast.”
While Restaurant Business Improvement Districts may vary on the benefit provided back to the business owners, their budgets, and the assessment methodologies, one thing is found to be consistent: a collective voice enables restaurant owners to become more prominent than ever before in the promotion of their destination’s culinary scene.
For more information, please click here to Civitas’ Restaurant Districts page.
Visit the Newport Beach Restaurant Association website here.
Learn how to participate in California Restaurant Month here.
To find out more about creating your restaurant improvement district, please feel free to email Nichole Farley.
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