Project Description

Case Study: National Restaurant Association

The Problem

Soon after the September 11th terrorist attack, restaurants across the country experienced declining sales. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) retained S&H to develop a national image advertising campaign designed to emphasize the important role that restaurants play in both America’s culture and economy.

The Solution

With the assistance of S&H, the NRA launched a two-phase advertising campaign as part of the industry’s broader “Cornerstone Initiative” public relations program. Phase One essentially became the restaurant industry’s public response to the September 11th terrorist attack and the related drop-off in dining out. Under the “Turning the Tables” tagline, we dramatized the important role restaurants play in both America’s economy and way of life. The campaign positioned dining out as a simple way Americans could reassert a sense of community and “fight back.”

In the summer of 2002, NRA launched Phase Two of the “Cornerstone Initiative” with an ad campaign utilizing a “Serving More than Meals” tagline.

The print and radio campaign featured individuals from within the industry who represent how restaurants are the cornerstone of the economy, careers and community. The first ad, launched in Washington, D.C. policymaker publications, featured NRA Chairman Xavier Teixido and owner of Harry’s Savoy Grill in Wilmington, Delaware.

“When we launched the Cornerstone Initiative Public Relations Campaign, it was well-received by our industry and the millions of Americans who continued to help turn the tables at our nation’s 858,000 restaurants during one of the most challenging periods in our country.

We now are building upon that momentum and energy, amplifying our messages to advance the Association’s pro-employee/pro-employer public policy agenda and inspire and unify the industry’s 11.6 million employees about the endless opportunities available to them.”

–Steven C. Anderson
President and CEO
National Restaurant Association

The Results

The “Turning the Tables” campaign was applauded within the industry as being a timely and sensitive public response to a national tragedy. The campaign was profiled in the Wall Street Journal and other national media outlets.

Support for the Phase Two “Serving More than Meals” effort was equally positive as restaurant sales returned to their pre-9/11 levels.