Fast-Rising Marketing Whiz Jumps Hurdles at Salsarita's Mexican Grill
Kelly Cooke with Salsarita’s CEO and proprietor Phil Friedman

Identified as a Swiftly Thinker and Innovator, Kelly Cooke Conjures up

Fast-Rising Marketing Whiz Jumps Hurdles at Salsarita's Mexican GrillCharlotte, NC  (RestaurantNews.com)  A stepladder received’t suffice. An extension ladder is what’s most acceptable to expend 30-year-worn Kelly Cooke’s ascent to no longer too long ago being named Chief Marketing Officer of Salsarita’s New Mexican Grill, the brief-casual chain with extra than 80 locations in 18 states.

Named idea to be one of the influential restaurant executives within the country in accordance to Nation’s Restaurant News earlier this year, Cooke has compiled an impressive checklist of accomplishments for Salsarita’s CEO and proprietor Phil Friedman since she joined the chain within the 2015 as a advertising and marketing and marketing coordinator.

“Kelly is a young, rising advertising and marketing and marketing chief within the restaurant commercial,” acknowledged Friedman. “She is accountable for spearheading all of Salsarita’s New Mexican Grill’s advertising and marketing and marketing efforts and bought our entire system throughout the pandemic. Neatly I might well add.”

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a predominant blow to the restaurant commercial – which proved devastating for an excellent deal of chains and some operators whereas others are serene overcoming boundaries and strive to bounce wait on.

Salsarita’s, on the opposite hand, adapted rapid to the pandemic-prompted mission of no longer being ready to absorb dine-in guests by rapid bolstering capabilities to expand customer consciousness of curbside pickup, takeout and third-occasion transport alternatives.

As Director of Marketing right through that duration, Cooke had slight time to formulate a opinion to react to the devastating commercial impact of the pandemic. Salsarita’s became as soon as no longer spared as same-retailer sales from March-Might perhaps simply 2020 had been down 37 percent over the identical duration in 2019.

Nonetheless Cooke reacted rapid and decisively as Salsarita’s launched a lot of unique initiatives. The consequence has been extremely solid sales yell right throughout the system, which makes Salsarita’s a ravishing sign for multi-notion / multi-unit operators making an strive for a notion that has consistently been outperforming the brief-casual commercial year-over-year. Among Cooke’s advertising and marketing and marketing initiatives and accomplishments right throughout the pandemic:

  • After the initial decline in sales early within the pandemic, same-retailer sales right throughout the 2nd half of 2020 had been down finest seven percent over 2019. Except for catering sales, Salsarita’s has viewed double-digit same-retailer sales yell every month since June 2020, with moderate sales yell every month of roughly 18 percent.
  • Marketing promotions with third-occasion transport partners ended in a 40 percent expand in sales, with third-occasion orders serene making up a median of 14 percent of entire sales every month.
  • Orders via the Salsarita’s App and online increased 300 percent when put next with pre-pandemic figures.
  • Cinco de Mayo sales in 2020 increased 36 percent over 2019, with online orders making up 63 percent of all orders and third-occasion deliveries up 250 percent when put next with the day after day moderate.
  • Stores donated hundreds of boxed lunches to local hospitals, pressing-care centers and other clinical offices.

While Cooke excelled right throughout the pandemic, she has been a whirlwind ever since she joined Friedman and Salsarita’s. In 2017 she helped collaborate on developing the name and branding alternate from Salsarita’s New Cantina to Salsarita’s New Mexican Grill and she also helped originate the chain’s force-through notion that year. And in 2019 Cooke helped launch the Salsarita’s App and unique online ordering system.

“Kelly launched the Salsarita’s App and unique online ordering platform in collaboration with the technology department, which has ended in a triple-digit expand in online orders since launch and she has utilized national campaigns that continue to consequence in double-digit same-retailer sales yell for the Salsarita’s system,” Friedman acknowledged. “She developed unbelievable relationships with our franchisees and our distributors, making many things that which it is likely you’ll be ready to imagine that correct don’t had been with out her.”

Ahead of working for Salsarita’s, Cooke became as soon as a advertising and marketing and marketing and commercial pattern manager for an engineering firm within the Raleigh, N.C. market. At the origin from upstate New York, Cooke earned a bachelor’s diploma in Journalism and Mass Communications and a master’s diploma in Integrated Marketing Communications from St. Bonaventure University.