Hakkasan San Francisco – Making an International Restaurant Brand a Local Destination

The Dare

In some cities, a poor review combined with negative chatter can level a business. Glodow Nead is no stranger to countering mistaken perceptions that, to the feeble minded, may seem impossible to overcome. Hakkasan, the renowned restaurant brand with establishments in London, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, New York’s SoHo and Miami’s South Beach, was poised to open its first West Coast location. Bringing Hakkasan to San Francisco followed widespread critique of its prices and poor reviews of its New York restaurant just months before, challenging Glodow Nead to introduce Hakkasan in a less-than-welcoming environment.

The Scheme

Glodow Nead decided to focus on Hakkasan San Francisco as a complement to the city’s existing acclaimed food scene with local influences, rather than as a global chain. Glodow Nead sought to achieve this by making early adopters of San Francisco influencers including press, C-level Bay Area executives, society, and other chefs within the market.

The campaign began months before opening, with Glodow Nead hosting these individuals for hard-hat tours of Hakkasan San Francisco, and inviting them back regularly to witness its progress. Placing local management at the forefront of the restaurant. Seeding information about local ingredients and San Francisco signature dishes that would appear on the menu alongside Hakkasan classics. Enabling our primary audience to dine on dim sum (showcasing a lower price point) in advance of Hakkasan’s opening. And throwing what San Francisco Chronicle noted as the “Party of the Year.”

The Upshot

Nearly 500 Bay Area notables attended the Hakkasan Grand Opening Party, including Tom Perkins (venture capitalist pioneer), Willie Brown (former SF mayor), Gary Friedman (CEO of Restoration Hardware), musician Eoin Harrington, Keith Belling (CEO of Popchips), Jim Steele (salesforce.com), Gary Kovacs (CEO of Mozilla), and so many more. Hakassan San Francisco is now the talk of the town … and in the most favorable way.

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