What Does A PR Agency Do? Il Palio

By Posted in - Awards & Case Studies on February 15th, 2017

Il Palio, Chapel Hill’s only AAA-rated Four Diamond Italian restaurant, had stood as a cultural icon for 30 years. As a proliferation of new, modern restaurants flooded the market, Il Palio launched a $1 million renovation and revamped menu crafted by its new executive chef, Teddy Diggs. Clairemont Communications led the charge to craft a comprehensive public relations strategy to win the hearts of young diners while retaining loyal customers.


Clairemont crafted a campaign that incorporated media relations, community events and blogger interaction. Targeting Generation Y and Millennial diners, Clairemont’s goal was to generate positive awareness and increase guest traffic.


Clairemont crafted a multi-layer strategy that provided opportunities for “sneak peeks,” customized experiences and themed reveals designed to cultivate brand ambassadors.

  • Behind the Smokescreen – Personalized Blogger Tours: Clairemont invited young community influencers and family oriented bloggers into the kitchen to get a first look at the renovated space and new menu. One millennial blogger broadcasted a cooking session with Chef Teddy on Periscope as he created her favorite Italian dish, while another mom blogger brought her two sons to bake signature cookies with him. The tours produced a flurry of coverage on social media and blogs and secured reservations at the restaurant.
  • VIP Dinners: Il Palio and Clairemont hosted eight VIP dinners for media, food and lifestyle bloggers, and community leaders to create brand ambassadors.
  • Creative Pitching: Clairemont stretched beyond traditional media pitches to craft creative, individualized story angles featuring Chef Teddy’s back-to-school lunch packing tips, tidbits about Chef Teddy’s proprietary custom-designed wood-fired grill, cutting-edge menu trends and unexpected recipes.
  • Social Media: Clairemont harnessed the visual, interactive nature of social media to provide a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant. Content showcased elements that appeal to young diners, such as a tour of the kitchen, the communal nature of the dining room and special dishes on the menu.


Clairemont met every goal, exceeded expectations and produced the following results:

  • 17 media stories in key outlets
  • 19 food and lifestyle blogger visits
  • 40 influencers attended on-site dinners
  • Six blog posts and third-party social media posts to at least 176,000 combined followers on Twitter alone
  • 30 percent increase in guest count

Clairemont unveiled the new Il Palio and successfully positioned it as a desirable, modern dining hot spot for all ages. As a result, in December Il Palio earned a 4.5 star rating – an increase from the previous 4 stars – and glowing reviews, such as one millennial diner who said, “This was the best meal I’ve had in Chapel Hill!”

The work Clairemont Communications conducted in partnership with Il Palio earned a Silver Excellence in Total Campaign from the Raleigh Public Relations Society and a Silver Award of Excellence in Reputation/Brand Management from the North Carolina Public Relations Society of America. We are proud that this campaign represents two of the 137 awards we’ve received since starting Clairemont in 2010. To read more about the work we do with clients, please visit the case study section of our blog.



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