Arkansas community staple Eat My Catfish launched as a food truck along a roadside, where its owner Travis Hester served up seafood recipes passed down from his grandparents. Today, it’s a fast-casual restaurant with five locations specializing in fresh catfish and crawfish and catering to over 700 events a year. Despite its growth, the business has maintained strong ties to the community. “We hire a lot of local teenagers,” says Travis. “We sponsor local events, clubs, and swim teams. We want to make sure that we give back and do our part to help the youth.”
For the past seven years, Eat My Catfish has entrusted its digital marketing to Kanga Studios, a full-service marketing agency that shares the restaurant’s community values. When Kanga noticed that the restaurant’s North Little Rock location was close to heavy traffic — near the crossover of two major interstate highways they suggested launching a Waze campaign to let drivers know about the local seafood nearby. “It’s kind of the meeting point for a lot of roads going in and out of Arkansas,” says Travis of the location. “When they told me that Waze would direct drivers straight here, I thought, man, that’s a great idea.”
A dual-objective campaign
Eat My Catfish’s goals were twofold: They wanted to raise top-of-mind awareness about their brand and also get more customers in through the door. The Kanga team launched a campaign with Search Ads and Branded Pins, which displayed the restaurant’s recognizable, red-and-white catfish logo. “What we love about Waze is that it lets us use a two-pronged approach,” says Drew Spurgers, owner at Kanga Studios. “Brand awareness is the first piece. But being able to navigate specifically to the restaurants accomplishes our biggest goal, which is to get clients in the restaurants, dining.”
Simple and transparent insights
As the team measured impressions, interactions, and navigations, they were pleased to see that it was easy to find and understand insights. Even though some of their team members had never used Waze before, Kanga could easily manage the setup and reporting. They could also quickly provide Eat My Catfish with any metrics they requested, keeping their client up-to-date on progress. “We can log in at any point and see stats for how our ads are performing currently, and also how they’ve performed in the past,” says Drew.
As we continue to grow and blanket the state with Eat My Catfish and really become Arkansas’s craveable seafood culture, we need a partner like Waze to drive customers to our business.
Travis Hester, Owner, Eat My Catfish
Growing the restaurant community with Waze
By connecting with drivers in a high-traffic area, Eat My Catfish achieved an 82% conversion rate across its 60,000 monthly views. That means that 82% of drivers who saw the ad walked in through the restaurant door. “That’s a conversion rate that you just don’t see anywhere else in the industry,” says Drew. “We’re also seeing a really, really great low cost per conversion.”
Waze ads also helped further Eat My Catfish’s secondary business. As more people streamed in, especially in large numbers like sports teams or church groups, the employees had an opportunity to let new customers know about their catering offering, so that they could keep them in mind for their next event.
Following the campaign’s success, other restaurant owners in Travis’s network are also starting to run Waze ads. At Kanga, the team plans to implement the same strategy with similar clients. “There's no reason why we wouldn't take advantage of something that we know is going to get the result that we want,” says Drew. “And that's people dining in our clients' restaurants.”