Mirko Bonmassar
January 12, 2024

How to Launch a Restaurant: The Success Story of Stan's Grill

Not an overnight success, but a well thought launch campaign. From branding to strategy, we loved helping the folks at Stan's Grill.

Stan's Grill iconic storefront with customers lining up

Stan's Grill: the new Melbourne's food craze

In the heart of Spotswood, tucked in the cutest (2x2) red container, a culinary revolution is taking place. Stan's Grill, a cool new eatery, has burst onto the scene by introducing  Balkan's best flavours. We're talking Chevapi, Ajvar and stuffed with cheese burger patties. But what may seem an overnight success, was a well thought and planned launch campaign. From branding to strategy, we were lucky to help the folks from Stan's Grill to send them viral.

Crafting a Unique Brand Identity

Let's rewind a bit. Our journey with Stan's Grill began when were asked to create a logo. And after hearing the vision and story behind, we (excitingly) replied: yes, but let's go deeper. Here's when we put forward a pitch to actually create a full brand for them.

The branding was the first piece of the puzzle, because we were introducing a not so well-known food to the market. Therefore, we had to create something modern, relatable and appealing. With the condition of understanding that the Chevapi is more than just a sandwich. It is what owners Stash and Steph define a staple of their culture. This resulted in a catchy and playful logotype, accompanied by hand drawn illustrations.

[You can see the brand work here]

Stan's Grill Branding

The ingredients for the perfect launch strategy

When it comes to open a new food outlet, (too) many rely on location, foot traffic and word of mouth. And while these are part of the recipe, it needs to start with a restaurant marketing plan. You can't expect to open a new joint and rely only on your locals, you need to reach as many eyeballs as possible. The ingredients we used for their strategy were: UGC and media publications outreach. These combined with a whisk of mouthwatering visuals and playful branding. Let's boil it all down:

Leveraging User-Generated Content

Let's being with UGC. In the era of shot format content, where anyone can literally go viral over night, considering this is key. What we are looking for is videos that evoke emotions and make the viewer feel FOMO. Basically videos that hype the brand. Our go-to platforms for food and beverages brands are (of course) TikTok and Instagram. We utilised this to our advantage and the results were sensational:

Three viral videos combined over 2 million views, 50,000+ shares, and more than 100,000 bookmarks. These numbers were bonkers and proof of the power of engaging and authentic UGC.
[Actual results broke down at the end of the article]

Videos by Bronte, GirlAboutMelb, Butisitactuallygoodthough

Strategic Media Publications Outreach

The buzz created by the UGC was amplified through selected media publications. We are talking about The Good Food, Concrete Playground, and Broadsheet. All featuring Stan's Grill and adding their voice to the growing chorus of praise. This coverage was not just about attention, but a way to introduce Balkan street food to Melbourne. Each publication brought its audience, further expanding the reach of Stan's Grill.

Preview shots of reviews from The Age and Broadsheet
Reviews from The Age "Good Food Guide" and Broadsheet

Building Hype Before Launching with a Teaser

An integral part of the launch was our graphic teaser campaign. This was designed to build anticipation and curiosity. The playful branding was front and centre, and the 3 IG reels served to champion the main food items. The aim was simple: giving the audience a small taste.

Creating a narrative of excitement and expectation leading to the launch date was a must. It becomes a promise of a new food adventure, and a hint of what's coming soon. It's like a movie trailer.

A Drizzle of Content Creation For the Eye

Given the unique location and the novelty of the food offering, we needed visuals. We then created stunning images and videos to introduce the food and Stan's Grill's story. This translated in engaging and shareable content. Which was essential. We saw a surge of people tagging friends and say things along the lines of "we must try this on the weekend!!!". So, it wasn't only about pretty pictures, it was to invite people to share and take action (without asking).

Tangible Results: From Viral to Profitable

The impact of this strategy was not limited to a few likes and comments. Quite the opposite. The hype translated into real-world results.  We counted double digits days of "sold out", queues of customers lasting up to an hour, and people traveling from afar. It may seem crazy but there were patrons who drove for two hours, to get their hands on their Chevapi.

Within four weeks, Stan's Grill is thriving and growing, with big projects for 2024.

A Recipe for Viral Success

The story of Stan's Grill is more than a case study for restaurant marketing. It's a blueprint for how to launch a food business in 2024. What may seem a "simple" strategy, it all came down to its execution. The real secret ingredient: FULLNESS. Meaning, that we cover it all. Branding, content, strategy, positioning, audience creation, media outlets and communication.

It wouldn't have been possible without the incredible food and service. Whilst the strategy played a part, the rest was made by the amazing people from Stan's Grill. That true hospo spirit, mixed with an unconditional love for their heritage and food. This is what Melbourne loves the most, we simply brought the attention they deserved.