February might be coming to an end, but the celebration of Black History Month continues. Dream Marketing Group partnered with Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association to create a weeklong initiative called Bite of Brown. The initiative was designed to increase exposure and consistent clientele for small African American-owned restaurants.
Dream Marketing Group provided exposure for multiple Black-owned restaurants including Island OMG Seafood, Smoothie Time, Leola’s Crab Shack, Sneauxball, 509 Caribbean Cuisine, Gurlie’s Lemonade and Gilliam Sisters Soul Food. The restaurants also have specials for those who plan on attending. Caleb Ross, co-founder of Dream Marketing Group, and his team created the campaign Bite of Brown to encourage people to take a bite out of recipes prepared by people of color.
“Amid COVID-19 where thousands of small businesses have closed nationwide, this is our effort to assist and keep businesses afloat,” Ross said. “We invite you to support each restaurant not only during Bite of Brown week but continuously.”
Students have been looking forward to this weeklong event since the marketing group released the flyer. The initiative also allowed participating students and attendees to go beyond their regular food choices to try something new. Junior social work student Xarria Taylor had never been to any of the listed restaurants, but she was happy to try them out while supporting the cause.
“I was used to going to the traditional chain restaurants located in Tallahassee,” Taylor said. “This initiative has pushed me to not only support these owners but also to continue to look and support other local Black-owned establishments as well.”
Several restaurants have benefited from Bite of Brown, such as Smoothie Time which began as a food truck in 2016 and later evolved into a brick-and-mortar location in June 2019. As a result of the initiative, Erick Smith, Smoothie Times’ owner, witnessed an increase in customer and social media engagement.
“Any increased exposure is great as mainstream media tends to trend more towards the big corporate chains, but to have an outfit specifically focus on Black-owned restaurants was really beneficial,” Smith said.
The initial goal of the marketing group was to drive traffic to Black-owned restaurants in Tallahassee. Now, they hope to create sustainable traffic to Black-owned businesses throughout the state of Florida. Their partnership with Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association has not only helped Dream Marketing Group, but all participating restaurants received a complimentary one-year membership.
“This partnership helped us get in the door to add legitimacy for our week,” Ross said. “The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association has a 10,000 plus membership of hospitality members, and now our week is on their radar.”
The work does not stop here for Dream Marketing Group. Their goal to highlight these restaurants has been immensely effective thus far. Additionally, they plan on highlighting even more Black-owned restaurants. To stay updated with Dream Marketing Group’s events, follow their Instagram @dreamxteament