The ongoing public health crisis has forced restaurants to drastically reconfigure their operations – first by switching wholly to takeout and delivery during the initial shutdown, and then again by transitioning their in-person dining offerings outdoors. Unless you follow a lot of restaurants or food groups on social media, it’s hard to know which are open and what services they currently offer. Through Dine Out DTLB, a new campaign to market Downtown restaurants to residents and visitors, the Downtown Long Beach Alliance’s (DLBA) new interactive online map lets users see in one place which Downtown eateries are open for outdoor dining, takeout, or delivery.
“When restaurants had to pivot their operations outdoors last month, the Long Beach Open Streets Initiative really started to take off,” said Samantha Mehlinger, DLBA Communications Manager. “With 19 new parklets Downtown and more on the way, we wanted an informative and intuitive way to display restaurant offerings. Creating our Dine Out DTLB campaign around a new online map proved to be a great solution.”
Created with MapMe technology, the mobile-friendly Dine Out DTLB map has color-coded markers clearly identifying restaurants open for different services, allowing users to scroll over the various neighborhoods of Downtown and clearly see different options. “We asked restaurants open for in-person dining to provide us with photos of their outdoor spaces – parklets, patios, and sidewalk dining – so users would have an idea about their set up. During a pandemic, we felt that would help put people’s minds at ease,” said Lauren Mayne, DLBA’s Social Media & Digital Marketing Coordinator.
Each map entry also includes hours of operation, links to restaurant websites and menus, and information about any special safety practices put in place, such as touchless menus or contact-free delivery.
“In the coming days we’ll be launching a digital advertising campaign to direct readers of Long Beach publications to the Dine Out DTLB map,” Mehlinger said. “We want to get as many eyes as possible on it to help Downtown restaurants drum up some more business.”
In addition to providing Downtown eateries with free online marketing, Dine Out DTLB is a broader campaign that also provides them with a variety of tools and collateral to assist in setting up outdoor operations, sharing content on social media, and more. A digital packet of materials, including a resource guide on building out parklets, is available for free here.
“We’re planning a similar marketing campaign to get more traffic to Downtown retailers,” Mehlinger said. “So many businesses are struggling to hang on through this pandemic. Whatever DLBA’s Marketing & Communications team can do to help, we’ll do it.”