Case Study: Tastebud Kickstarter

We’ve talked previously about how we’re big believers in the power of crowdfunding and how we like the idea of using our dark marketing arts to help out small businesses. That’s why we were so excited to get a chance to work with Tastebud‘s Mark Doxtader and help him crowdfund the opening of his new restaurant in Multnomah Village.

Tastebud Pizza and Chef

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.

Tastebud Food Cart in Pioneer Square

The response was overwhelming. We set a goal of $25,000 over the 30-day campaign, and we were fully funded within 10 days. Kickstarter was so impressed that they featured us as a Staff Pick, and we ultimately reached 123% of our funding goal.

Most importantly, we had a very happy client on our hands who had one fewer thing to worry about as he was getting ready to make a huge investment in the future of his business. And he said some very nice things about us:

“We had great success working with ROBOTORO on our Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new restaurant opening. The campaign was instantly more successful than we expected. Their detailed content presented us with several ways to capitalize on our big fan base, and reach out to those beyond it. We reached our goal within 10 days of its start, and with the help of some small social media ad buys, we took in a bit more! They really seemed to understand what we do, and their enthusiasm for our success matched our own. Crowdfunding can be a nail-biting experience, but ROBOTORO helped make it a low-stress, rewarding time.”