The Cara Operations Limited group owns 10 restaurant brands such as Milestone’s, Harveys and Swiss Chalet. Cara recently decided to bring all their social media marketing in house after a pilot project in which they were able to test out how responsive they could be for all their brands without relying on agencies. At the end of the day it is a difficult decision for any business to decide whether to source out their marketing and social media or to bring it all in house. The Cara brand has such a broad reach of customers with different demographics, incomes, geography, etc that the information crossover would be a big loss if they gave it all away to an agency.
By making the decision to bring all their marketing in house, their team can quickly react, respond and request information directly from their customers. The group’s marketing team uses different social media tools like Instagram and Twitter to seek out immediate feedback, buy-in and build momentum and excitement for upcoming changes such as menu or toppings!
What is really great about a group like Cara having their marketing in house is that they are the most interested in ensuring that every piece of big data they can gather can be understood to seek out any applicable insights. Since they own so many brands it is likely little information will be wasted. Another great ability that they will have in the future as they perfect their in house processes, is to build a brand as a whole. They have begun to do that in the past few years creating the “Ultimate Dining Card” which is a gift card that you can use at any of their brands. This makes for a phenomenal gift for anyone that you are unsure about. This focus and with the help of a unified branding can help to ensure that people who love and trust one restaurant like Swiss Chalet can rely and trust another Cara group brand based on their knowledge that they are “owned by the same folk”.
Lastly another great move that gives Cara a huge edge for the future is their growing relationship with Scotiabank’s “scene card”. The scene program was introduced in 2006 to give movie goers a points system to get discounts and free movies. At certain Cara group brands, patrons can gain scene points. This gives the brand another avenue to reach customers.
Lessons for Others
I believe Cara is often a leader in their decisions and this one of bringing their marketing and social media management in house has and will continue to prove to be an innovative one. I truly believe the incredible access that their brands have will enable them to seamlessly target, service and adapt to make all their different customers satisfied.
Cara Operations Ltd.
Name of Organization Contact: William D. Gregson, CEO Cara Group of restaurants
Authored by: Carla Calderon
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