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How Primanti Bros Leverages Localized Marketing to Win More Customers


Primanti Bros originally opened as a sandwich shop in 1933, and when it began, its first location was open from 11 pm – 11 am to feed truck drivers who were driving through the night. As the restaurant brand grew, Primanti Bros expanded its hours and its menu. Currently, Primanti Bros has about 40 store locations across multiple states and continues to expand.


To learn more about how Primanti Bros found success in the industry, SOCI’s own Dustin Hayes, Sr. Director of Marketing, sat down with Ryan Wilkinson, Marketing Director at Primanti Bros, for a Modern Marketing Conversation. We’ll highlight the essential pieces of the conversation within this blog while also sharing which localized marketing tactics Primanti Bros leveraged to dominate its industry. 


The State of Digital Marketing in the Restaurant Industry 


Consumers have become reliant on third-party delivery options like Uber Eats over the past couple of years, due in large part to the pandemic. Uber shared that food delivery outpaced rideshare revenue in 2021. COVID-19 also impacted the importance of localizing communications for restaurant brands. Consumers care more than ever about what restaurant brands are doing at the local level. That focus on localization has remained over the past two years and is expected to grow. For instance, Google recently further prioritized the importance of photos by creating features and introducing logic that promotes visual search. According to research found in SOCi’s soon to be released 2022 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report, 44 percent of local search results include prominent images. 


Uber is also further investing in local search. For instance, Uber just released Uber Explore, which allows users to make reservations at local restaurants and explore other content like reviews which are filtered through a partnership with Yelp. This shift towards localization has emphasized a need for restaurant brands to create a holistic local search and social experience for customers. Primanti Bros realized the importance of localized marketing early, which has allowed them to stand out against competitors. So why is localized marketing so important? 


If the data above didn’t convince you, localized marketing also allows multi-location businesses to: 

  • Deliver personalized communication at scale 
  • Provide location-specific presence and menu management 
  • Understand the customer voice across geographic regions 
  • Pinpoint marketing and operational recommendations 



How Primanti Bros Transformed Its Localized Marketing Efforts 


Wilkinson explained that COVID-19 quickly emphasized the importance of localization. At the pandemic’s beginning, Primanti Bros took a hard look at its marketing efforts to understand what was working and what wasn’t. Their team focused on ROI and looked at whether or not specific measures were driving any revenue to the restaurant, exposing areas Primanti Bros could either remove or improve upon. One of the first areas Primanti Bros decided to cut was a lot of its traditional media. The brand stopped its radio advertising along with billboard advertising. This isn’t to say that if your business is using these marketing strategies, you should cut them, but it’s worth investigating further. Primanti Bros realized that these traditional media marketing strategies weren’t driving the same revenue as before. Wilkinson stated that if he could provide one piece of advice for other marketers, it would be to not wait until another emergency hits to re-evaluate your marketing efforts. Your multi-location business should do it now to ensure you’re getting the most out of your strategy.


Primanti Bros switched most of its marketing efforts to digital and now have better numbers and traffic than they did pre-pandemic. From promoting its curbside efforts through local organic social to ensuring its local listings are consistently updated and accurate, Primanti Bros focused on various online local search and social measures to boost its overall localized marketing strategy. With local listings, Wilkinson quickly learned that the more built out a business’s profile is, the better. Primanti Bros ensures that its local listings include a photo, leverage Google Posts, and notate whether the location provides curbside or delivery. With local social, Primanti Bros understands that a local presence is necessary. Whether they’re posting about a local promotion or sharing upcoming events, engagement at the local level is vital. For more tips on creating a winning local social strategy, check out our Localized Social Content Guide



Green, black, and white download button for SOCi’s Localized Social Content Guide Description: Green, black, and white download button for SOCi’s Localized Social Content Guide



While Primanti Bros realized the importance of localized marketing, it came with some challenges. For instance, Wilkinson explained that Primanti Bros had to find a way to scale their localized marketing efforts across all 40 locations. The restaurant brand was no longer able to do it manually. That’s where Primanti Bros found SOCi. Wilkinson explained that SOCi was “right-sized” for their business and allowed them to manage all of their localized marketing efforts at scale. While SOCi can manage multi-location businesses with 1,000s of locations, Wilkinson said he could easily communicate with customer success to ensure Primanti Bros is getting the most out of using SOCi’s platform. Primanti Bros uses SOCi for various localized marketing efforts and has seen their success continue to grow! 


Start Improving Your Business’s Localized Marketing Efforts 


Now that you understand Primanti Bros’s steps to find localized marketing success, it’s time for your multi-location business to do the same. While creating a localized marketing strategy can seem daunting, Primanti Bros proves that it’s worth the effort! And, you don’t have to do it alone. As mentioned previously, SOCi has the tools your business needs to manage both local search and local social across 100s or 1,000s of business locations. 



From local social to local listings to reputation management and beyond, SOCi has you covered. SOCi is the marketing platform for multi-location brands. For more insight into how SOCi can help your multi-location business dominate its localized marketing efforts, request a demo today!



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Darcy Bickham

As SOCi’s Content Marketing Manager, Darcy Bickham specializes in creating the strategy and developing the content around both localized and digital marketing trends for the SOCi brand. Through her content writing, Darcy has helped to position SOCi as the marketing platform for multi-location brands.