How Social Helped Blue Duck STL Thrive Under Pressure
Restaurants were no exception to one of the most volatile years in history. 2020 was a make or break scenario for all businesses, but those dealing with food were forced to reinvent their customer experience in a big way.
Thankfully with a forward thinking attitude and a social media savvy focus on marketing The Blue Duck of Maplewood, Mo came out ahead in a big way. There was lots to consider when evaluating constantly changing mandates and customer expectations, luckily the groundwork in place for this small restaurant helped feed big apatites all year long.
The Blue Duck in Maplewood, Missouri is a New American Restaurant that needed notoriety and recognition worthy of its scratch made kitchen fueled by its passionate team.
“We just never could get the traction that we thought we should be able to, especially with the product we were putting out there,” owner Chris Rayburn said.
“So that’s when we met Pat. We talked to him for a while and we found out what he had to offer. And from that point on, our social media presence has exploded and with that, an appreciable increase in business.”
THE EARLY TRANSFORMATION
“We’ve increased our followers. We’ve increased the amount of comments and communication with guests and we see people come in on a daily basis now because of what we’re posting on social media – something we just couldn’t accomplish ourselves and we tried for years.”
The Blue Duck serves a selection of comfort classics with new concepts, homemade desserts & pastries and an incredible bourbon collection.
Imig Communications brought to life the stories of their quality & passion through social video marketing, transforming The Blue Duck’s business and digital presence to that of a go-to destination dining experience.
“We run everything and there are just certain aspects of the business that we can’t execute, owner Karmen Rayburn said.
“When Pat came in, it allowed us to let him take control of our presence out there. He ran with it.”
“And a lot of what he taught us – and what is true, too – is that people like to see how food is made! They like to see behind the scenes.” What started as a two-month trial turned into a 3-month trial which turned into a 3+ year trial.
Karmen wasn’t sure how long The Blue Duck & Imig Communications would work together, but an agreement based on understanding and execution has proven perpetual.
“Pat takes time to get to know you. And he takes the time to get to know your business and how you want your business presented. And he wants it to be as if it was us (The Blue Duck) that is promoting our business and not some other third party. He cares”
That authentic and transparent approach paired with consistency are the not-secret ingredients in the Imig Communications recipe for client success.
“We have people coming in all the time saying, ‘I saw this on Instagram. I saw this on Facebook,’ and we never had that before. Now that’s a regular thing.”
-former Executive Chef at The Blue Duck Trenton Garvey.
(Garvey is no longer at The Blue Duck after winning Hell’s Kitchen Season 20)
HOW GREAT COLLABORATION LED TO NATIONAL RECOGNITION
In early February 2019, Imig Communications helped Garvey get selected as a contestant on the show by producing video vignettes aimed at the producers and publicists of the show.
With The Blue Duck’s social marketing solidified, new customers and guests found about amazing brunch, lunch and dinner options in Maplewood, Missouri.
That momentum made the year 2019 a record breaking for The Blue Duck.
The year 2020 started with even greater promise, but a global pandemic put a halt on things.
By early April, The Blue Duck was offering limited hours for curbside carryout.
Imig Communications continued the relationship, however, and helped The Blue Duck market a weekly pop-up restaurant theme to combat the boredom of curbside carryout.
“The weekly videos were huge for us because they let people know we were still here and still eager provide thoughtful, scratchmade food,” Owner Karmen Rayburn said.
“In actuality, I think we attracted more new customers & guests during that period simply because we were offering something different in a city and county that wasn’t allowing dine-in service. That wouldn’t have happened without Pat & Imig Communications.”
After riding the 2020 storm out, the year 2021 offered repeat challenges. Local regulations hindered dine-in service, so The Blue Duck started the year 2021 on a brief hiatus to renovate before opening its doors in late January.
IT’S NOT HOW YOU START, IT’S HOW YOU FINISH
Even with a low-key first month, The Blue Duck had a record year in 2021, thanks in part to a robust fourth quarter.
“The last quarter was insane,” said Karmen.
The last quarter followed up the conclusion of Hell’s Kitchen on Fox, which saw Executive Chef Trenton Garvey capture the victory. With that came a new job for him running Gordon Ramsay Steak in Las Vegas.
And for The Blue Duck, business as usual.
Paring consistently great food with consistently great marketing and storytelling has the restaurant eyeing new records here in early 2022.
“We are seeing a lot of new customers, still! It’s kind of crazy because there are days where it’s all new people. It’s definitely a great mix of old and new but still lots of new people coming through the doors! It’s exciting!
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