5 Marketing Tips For Restaurants

The restaurant industry is reeling right now with the mandated shutdowns of dining rooms all across Fairfield County. But here are some tips and a marketing toolkit to help amplify your local reach.

1. Social Media Likes Won’t Pay the Bills. The algorithms are designed for the user, not for the businesses that try to reach their followers. You need to use social media to get people to sign up for your email list. Your email list will always reach more of your customers.

2. Nothing Else Matters But Today. If your website’s front page talks about dining reservations, happy hours, booking events, and everything else, you are missing the opportunity to capture the attention of people searching for you. Mothball the regular stuff, and make the first thing to see is your offer during the shutdown.

3. Keep It Simple. You have 3 seconds to convey what you want your customers to do. Link to how to order online the biggest link, and then add other ways to order to below that, the hours and days you are operating below that and a link to the Google Maps for how to get to you.

4. Communicate Daily. Remember the time when restaurants sent out the daily fax? New routines for people working from home are opportunities to send out reminders that you are open and are taking orders, whether it is for pickup or delivery. People are getting inundated with information, so that daily reminder is crucial.

5. Segment Your List. Tag people within your delivery range, and the new people who sign up to your list. They are the closest to your place of business so you should strengthen those ties. 

Norwalk 2.0 has put together a local marketing toolkit that can help you reach more local customers and stay on message. Check out https://norwalk2.org/toolkit/

Norwalk 2011 Cultural Assesment Survey

Now here’s a blast from the past. Robert Campbell produced this cultural assessment survey when the newly formed Norwalk Arts Commission was still trying to figure out what it wanted to be when it grew up. Since then, long after Jackie Lightfield resigned from chairing the organization, the Commission became an official commission, with appointments by the Mayor. But did anything change for the arts in Norwalk?

Here’s the key findings:

  1. There is no comprehensive list of artists living in Norwalk
  2. Having a staffed Commission would enable Norwalk to compete for regional and national funds to grow the creative economy.
  3. A cultural district makes sense, and could provide better economic data in order to make decisions.
  4. There is strong evidence that people who attend cultural events spend money at local businesses afterwords.

You can read the whole thing here.

Winners of Iconic Norwalk 2018

Norwalk 2.0 congratulates winners of the Iconic Norwalk 2018 project and launches 2019.

Iconic Norwalk is Norwalk 2.0’s initiative to engage residents, businesses, and visitors in capturing unique and iconic places in Norwalk and sharing them on Instagram.

Using, Instagram as a platform, people are asked to submit photos, videos or artwork using the #iconicnorwalk2018 hashtag.  Winning entries in the following categories:


Grand Prize, The Grand Prize Winner will receive $300 cash.

Paul Zullo

…not easy to find this shot. #iconicnorwalk2018 @norwalk2

First Place Winners in the categories listed below received $100 cash prizes:

  • FOOD
    • Patrick Sikes
    • Mike Kowal
    • Heidi D’Amelio
    • Margosia B
    • Andrew Dominick

There were over 400 entries in the 2018 program, and we thank all the participants who captured amazing photos of Norwalk.

Norwalk 2.0 is a hybrid economic development agency focused on public arts and creative placemaking – using arts, culture, and creativity to engage residents locally, enhance public space and improve city quality of life. The idea behind this community development organization, founded by Maribeth Becker and Jackie Lightfield, is to utilize their professional backgrounds in marketing, technology, and design to connect ideas with the people and organizations that have the resources to make them happen.

The Norwalk 2.0 mission is to engage residents, business and community organizations to work together and create an authentic, creative, economically diverse and sustainable future. With the goal of creating a flourishing city, 2.0 provides education and insights supporting activities in the creative economy, organizes events to encourage networking and the sharing of ideas, and promoting organizations and initiatives to the greater Norwalk community. Norwalk 2.0 is a flexible and nimble catalyst that initiates a wide variety of projects that engage a diverse group of community members.

We are ‘hi-tech’ and ‘high-touch’ believing that community engagement is best achieved using a combination of in-person and technical interaction. Norwalk 2.0 serves area residents, businesses and visitors.

Over eight thousand people have attended a Norwalk 2.0 project over the past eight years. Norwalk 2.0 has produced public artevents, community-focused support with the After School & Beyond and Norwalk Resources website, Street Beautification plans, city-wide public installations and data collecting through the Norwalk Listens Survey.

Big changes start with little projects, and every project starts with a team. For more information on how you can get involved in the next community project, donate or help Norwalk 2.0 get the journey started, let us know how we can help.

Iconic Norwalk 2018

Creative placemaking; Norwalk 2.0 launches Concert Series at Constitution Park in Liberty Square

Art events in Constitution Park highlight waterfront

We’re back with the Iconic Norwalk Instagram contest. This year we’ve tweaked the categories and the #hashtag. So pay attention. If your account is private, we can’t see the entries. If you upload albums we can’t see all the entries, submit each photo individually. Follow the #IconicNorwalk2018 hashtag, and of course @norwalk2.

Norwalk 2.0 announces the launch of Iconic Norwalk 2018, the second year of the Instagram contest that resulted in over 900 submissions of iconic locations in Norwalk with 19 entries winning prizes in categories ranging from food to architecture. The winning entries of last year’s project are on exhibit at the Pink Containers.


The contest entry period is from June 1, 2018, through October 31, 2018, ending at midnight.

1) Take or upload a photo of your artwork or video to your personal Instagram account

2) Caption your image with either a location or description and include #IconicNorwalk2018

3) Follow @norwalk2  on Instagram


Grand Prize, The Grand Prize Winner will receive $300 cash.

First Place Winners in the categories listed below will receive $100 cash:







Contestant must be the creator/owner of the entered image(s) and must have the permission of anyone shown in the images to have their likeness published. Norwalk reserves the right request the original image file for any winning image to print for an exhibition celebrating Norwalk. This is a global contest and any person with an Instagram account may enter, but the photos posted to #icononicnorwalk have to be depicting a scene in Norwalk Connecticut that is easily identifiable in the photo. Photos submitted to the contest may be printed for exhibit and displayed in public venues in Norwalk, CT by Norwalk 2.0.

We ask that PRIVATE accounts are made PUBLIC during the contest in order to be entered. The winner will be announced on 11/14, 2018, we appreciate your patience while we verify all the entries. Good luck!

Per Instagram rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use.”


Join Us June 21

We’re celebrating the launch of the #iconicnorwalk exhibit on June 21st at the ArtWorks Gallery ont he Green from 6-8 PM. Please join us and see the project winners as well as over 840 images contributed to the project.


Iconic Norwalk 2018

With over 2500 images submitted over two years, this project has really highlighted the best places in Norwalk. Thank you to all the participants who submitted entries. Now the fun part, we are running the contest again in 2019. Come join us on May 17th at 6pm at the Norwalk Library to hear the details, and see the winning entries, plus all the rest of the entries.  See you there.

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Head over here.

Connecticut’s Commission on Aging

Our field trip to the CT Main Street peacemaking workshop resulted in coverage over at the Connecticut Legislative Commission on Aging. Check out the article:

At their April workshop, the Connecticut Main Street Center featured these “placemakers” — cities developing public spaces that attract people, build community by bringing people together, and create local identity.

In Norwalk, the folks from Norwalk 2.0  are the grassroots movers and shakers behind creative public spaces where people gather and connect. Using inexpensive strategies including a mural art trail, storefront dance, “fence art” and colorful adirondack chairs, Maribeth Becker and Jackie Lightfield have transformed places like littered, overgrown public parks to vibrant gathering places.



SONO Beach

Its been a long road to get a site for Norwalk’s first mobile arts center. The two Norwalk 2.0 pink shipping containers customized to be anything from workspace, an exhibit venue or performance space turned out to be the easy part. Locating a site, and then working on making the site work proved to be a bit more challenging. But we did it, and while we hoped we would be up and running during the summer, we instead turn to the fall as our launch time.