Tastebud has existed in one form or another for 15 years, and Mark is a local legend in the Portland culinary scene. The new Tastebud made Eater Portland’s list of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2015, so we knew there was plenty of enthusiasm there. The challenge was to figure out how to translate that into financial support.
We started by assessing the communications channels available to us. Like a lot of local businesses, Tastebud had a Facebook page that was infrequently updated, as well as an email newsletter with a few hundred subscribers. Most importantly, Tastebud was a known quantity in a town that takes its food scene very seriously.
We started with a highly targeted media push to existing Tastebud fans, newsletter subscribers and local media outlets that are always hungry (sorry) for culinary news. We also structured the backer rewards to take advantage of the novelty of Tastebud’s mobile pizza oven—seriously, this thing is awesome—and the personal connection that many of Tastebud’s longtime customers feel that they have with Mark. So: catering events, cooking classes, tickets to a preview dinner, etc.