Evin Gelleri owns Sessions at the Presidio, a San Francisco restaurant known for craft beer, craft food and craft cocktails. The cuisine is focused on seasonal ingredients from local farms like Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. Small plates, shared family style, feature locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs. And if that’s not enough, there are over 100 beers to try.
Sessions is located in the Letterman Digital Arts Center, a campus filled with interesting businesses, notably Industrial Light and Magic, the company George Lucas founded to create special effects for Star Wars. It’s also where the Zenreach offices are.
We visit frequently because Sessions’ huge bar and outdoor patio are perfect for business lunches and after-work happy hours. The space is open, airy and filled with beautiful wood accents. Gelleri says, “we wanted to create an environment that’s very conducive to hanging out.”
Stay ahead of the competition
Even with a great menu and nice vibe, Gelleri admits, “San Francisco is a tough place to have a restaurant.” There are over 8,000 places for hungry customers to choose. Sessions’ location also adds a bit of a challenge. The Presidio is gorgeous, but it can be out of the way for some locals. Gelleri uses events and special menus, like a Sunday chicken dinner, to entice folks to come in on weekends.
Gelleri hopes to capture as much customer base as he can in a crowded market. To do that, he’s tried several different marketing strategies. To help get the word out, he used a PR firm. Sessions has also been featured on shows about food, like Leslie Sbrocco’s “Taste This!” and PBS’ “Check, Please!” These efforts provided pops in visits, but they weren’t scalable or sustainable.
Sessions needed a consistent and manageable way to market directly to customers. Gelleri also wanted to provide free WiFi. When he discovered Zenreach checked both boxes, and happened to be a neighbor, he signed up. Sessions is now able to automate customer lists and trigger messages based on behavior; for example, first visits, birthdays, special event attendance and more.
Connect to customers with Zenreach
They’ve used all the usual social media marketing platforms, but Zenreach seems to have done the most for bringing people back in. Gelleri says, “it can be hard to measure the impact of social media, but people do use the Zenreach WiFi.” Guests always take pictures of the food for Instagram and more than a few folks work from their laptops at the bar. Sending email messages directly to customers who have visited Sessions, and logged onto WiFi, is now a cornerstone of their marketing.
Sessions has found Zenreach to be a great marketing platform for retaining a loyal customer base and sending out communications for events. Gelleri says, “I think it brings faces back who get to be part of the restaurant, and it helps create a family atmosphere.” We’re proud to be part of the crowd of regulars at the bar.