• Local restaurant, Gosforth Palace, has taken over Coca-Cola billboards across Newcastle as part of the brand’s “Open Like Never Before” campaign
  • Gosforth Palace has received free advertising space and bespoke marketing materials as part of campaign to help businesses get back on their feet
  • New research reveals 42% of small hospitality venues said marketing and advertising could help them increase sales at this challenging time

Gosforth Palace, a Chinese restaurant in Newcastle, has been handpicked to star in Coca-Cola’s Open Like Never Before campaign, designed to help independent businesses get back on their feet.

Bo Yu, owner of Gosforth Palace, is one of a handful of independent business owners being featured on billboards across the country as part of the Open Like Never Before campaign, which is designed to remind consumers to support their local venues following a challenging time for the hospitality sector.

According to Mr Yu, his restaurant saw a 70% drop in customers in March but managed to maintain around 40% of business during lockdown through its takeaway service. Once it reopened to the public on 4th July, the restaurant was only seeing around 60% of its usual sales and business for the period.

A local institution, Gosforth Palace has been serving authentic Chinese food to the community for over 20 years. Concerned about having to let go of staff that had worked there for over a decade, Bo decided to pay for social media marketing, which was cheaper than traditional print adverts.

Bo Yu, explains: “Many of our usual customers didn’t know we had reopened. Social media advertising helped us spread the word, but it required investment at a time when we had already spent a lot on screens, new furniture that could be sanitised and other measures to ensure we could reopen safely.

“That’s why I was excited to hear about the Coca-Cola campaign. I thought partnering with such a huge brand would help propel our profile in the local area. As Coca-Cola was covering the cost, there was no additional financial risk to us during this unpredictable time. I was thrilled when the ad went live – Gosforth Palace is on the biggest billboard in the city!

“Some of our regular customers are in their 60s and 70s, so it will take some time for them to get the confidence to return. But I hope that over the next few weeks the campaign will help us welcome new customers and let the community know we are once again open for business”

According to new research by Censuswide for Coca-Cola, over a quarter (29%) of pubs, restaurants and cafes across the UK are concerned about the future viability of their business after seeing significantly fewer customers in August than they would normally expect.

Of the businesses surveyed, 42% said that marketing and advertising would help them increase footfall, however, 35% claim to not have the budget to do so and 33% lack the digital or design skills to take this on themselves.

Coca-Cola’s Open Like Never Before campaign aims to help resolve this problem through creating out-of-home advertising for small hospitality businesses via an innovative AdCreator platform that provides hundreds of customers with the resources and expertise to create their own personalised adverts free of charge. Coca-Cola is also providing advertising budget for customers to host their advert and let consumers know that they were open for business in their local area.

Bryony Lester, Marketing Manager at Coca-Cola Great Britain said: “This has been an exceptionally challenging time for many individuals, brands and businesses. We saw it as our responsibility to continue to support the economic recovery during this challenging time and that is why we focused our efforts on how we can make a tangible difference for our retail partners, customers and local communities.

“As exemplified by Gosforth Palace, our support has hopefully greatly benefitted small businesses by encouraging consumers to visit their local cafés, bars, restaurants across Great Britain.”

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