The Old Spaghetti Factory Slurps Up Results with Localized Facebook Ads

Delivering local calls to action helped the restaurant chain drive a 4.7 percent increase in sales.

With 42 locations in the U.S. and other countries, The Old Spaghetti Factory has been serving Italian dishes since 1969. But while each restaurant was designed to fit into local communities with unique d?r, managing targeted ads with specific offers for different locations proved challenging. Instead of delivering generic messages, the company wanted to deliver locally targeted campaigns at scale, explains Ryan Durrett, director of marketing at OSF International.

"We try to have each location operate as if it's a small, local business because it's important to us that our guests feel the restaurant is part of their community," Durett says. "And as part of that, we wanted to deliver local ads while maintaining brand consistency."

The Old Spaghetti Factory chose MomentFeed, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based digital marketing firm, to help the restaurant chain connect with customers at the local level. Using MomentFeed's marketing platform, the Old Spaghetti Factory designed localized Facebook ads that appeared on the Newsfeeds of fans (i.e. people who had liked or were following The Old Spaghetti Factory) and their friends who were near one of the company's restaurants.

The content of the ad varied according to the location and menu items that the restaurants wanted to promote. For example, one ad targeting the St. Louis areaincluded a message signed by Soren Heilskov, a general manager, inviting customers who live in in the area to try the Italian sausage cannelloni which was being offered for a limited time. The ad also included the address of the restaurant and a photo of the dish.

The Old Spaghetti Factory ran pilot campaigns for 19 locations earlier this year and compared the results with a control group of 19 other locations that ran a generic campaign. Compared to the control group, over the course of several weeks, the pilot group saw a net gain of more than 7,160 customer transactions, a 4.7 percent increase in sales, and reached more than 650,000 unique Facebook users who lived within a few miles from its restaurants.

"We had always suspected that providing local calls to action would be more effective, but we didn't have an easy way to test that until now," Durrett says. "And now that we have a better understanding of the impact of a Facebook ad campaign, we'll be running more ads to reach people when they're on their phones and scanning Facebook."

Additionally, as mobile usage grows, reaching customers when they are using a smartphone is a priority for the company, Durrett adds. The growth of mobile users is "something that we're trying to keep in touch with and we know that we have certain windows of time to reach people when they're most likely to come by or are thinking of their next meal," Durrett says. "It's all about getting in front of the customer with the right message at the right time."