Using a PR agency delivered Oxford restaurant opening success

Maximising PR and communications enabled UK restaurant chain COSMO to successfully re-launch its Oxford venue.

The global-all-you-can-buffet chain re-opened in Oxford following a temporary closure due to the pandemic. It needed a communications campaign that helped raise awareness of its return, provided clarity to customers, and created a buzz to drive bookings for the venue. 

It appointed Oxford based Fortitude Communications to design an integrated campaign and deliver it. 

In this article COSMO Marketing Manager Joanne Fallah explains how outsourcing its communications requirements to Fortitude helped the restaurant return to Oxford with a bang. 

Hiring a PR agency 

After a prolonged closure of our Oxford branch after the pandemic we needed to ensure we communicated our re-opening strongly and re-engaged the community well,” said Joanne. 

Understandably, there was a lot of apprehension and questions from the public regarding whether we were going to open again at all. We needed support with our messaging, the social media of the opening, organising events and PR activity to get the word out there that we’re back and excited to welcome our guests again. 

We decided to appoint a local PR agency that had a proven track-record and was well-connected in Oxford so they could help us across PR, marketing, social media, events and collaborations.” 

Following a competitive pitch process COSMO appointed Fortitude to represent the brand. 

Fortitude fully understood what we wanted to achieve especially after COVID,” said Joanne. They provided a proposal with ideas for the opening and what would attract customers and press. The plan stretched over 3 months with pre, during and post opening.

Our internal marketing department is small and so the partnership with Fortitude allowed us to give full reigns to the team to execute the approved ideas from planning through to execution and reporting.”


Fortitude created and placed a consistent flow of stories in the external media through the campaign that hit various key messages. 

The volume of coverage and the quality of the content was excellent,” said Joanne. The team at Fortitude was very professional and efficient. All stories were executed in a timely manner and they had an excellent relationship with the media.

Fortitude really understood our business and how we wanted to be portrayed and all the story ideas, press releases and social media content were spot on. They also arranged a media night at the restaurant which was well attended and resulted in a lot of coverage and brand awareness. 

The COSMO team was kept updated at all times with enough time to agree and organise any logistics our end for media visits, plus video and photo shoots.” 

One media placement included a mock-up master chef cookery lesson for a journalist with COSMO’s head chef. Article here.

Engaging online

Fortitude managed selected social media platforms and produced marketing e‑shoots as part of the integrated campaign. 

This involved campaign planning, creating and publishing content and handling customer inquiries. 

Fortitude delivered social media competitions which increased engagement and raised awareness of the re-opening, our offers and database sign-ups,” said Joanne. 

The activity also increased our followers and likes. They also maximised relevant national awareness days to further scale our social media engagement in a contemporary way.”

Video production

Fortitude’s team worked with COSMO to create a series of high-impact videos of the venue. 

The 150-seat restaurant is in a basement and so COSMO wanted a fly-through tour of the venue to showcase it to its target audience. Our head videographer used drone and 360 camera technology to obtain the footage. The video is now broadcast on a digital screen in the window of its street-level entrance to showcase the venue to passers-by and has also been utilised on social media. 

Additionally, Fortitude produced a series of short social media video clips that were used to highlight different elements of the restaurant experience. 

We hadn’t had a video done for the branch previously so was the perfect chance to get some content to use on socials to attract customers,” explained Joanne. 

Fortitude planned the story board, organised the videographer and attended on the day to ensure everything was in place. They finalised the edits and supplied final versions. The videos are fantastic and were everything we had hoped for.” 

Power of partnerships 

Fortitude sourced and managed collaborations and partnerships for COSMO to help amplify its reach. 

Our team secured a partnership with Oxfordshire’s largest independent radio station JACKfm for COSMO which resulted air-time advertising and a marketing campaign that helped generate restaurant bookings. Additionally, we helped forge a collaboration with Oxford Hospitals Charity which resulted in a fundraising campaign taking place at the restaurant for Oxford Children’s Hospital. Read more here.

Fortitude handled partnerships — sourcing them, organising activity, liaison and execution,” said Joanne. It was a great help and a weight off our shoulders. The whole process was seamless and highly effective.” 

Well connected

The team at Fortitude utilised strong working relationships within the media, business and charity communities along with detailed local knowledge to help deliver the project. 

It made a massive difference to be able to have access to the big names in media and press to support with the re-opening and messaging,” said Joanne. It was clear Fortitude is well connected and respected and it took our campaign to the next level. 

Fortitude also had the knowledge on what would work best for our restaurant and who to reach out to and this really helped with the strategy.” 

Delivering impact

COSMO Oxford has performed strongly since it re-opened. 

Bookings and walk-ins reached capacity almost every night during the opening campaign,” said Joanne. 

It was one of our most successful campaigns in the UK. Fortitude delivered a successful campaign and thanks to the use of stories, press, charity work, radio campaigns and general marketing on socials, we were able to spread the word that COSMO is back.

COSMO will be using Fortitude again in the future for media relations and stories in the press. We would recommend them to anyone looking for marketing and PR support. You can trust Fortitude to take control of the project.”

Work with us today 

If you would like to learn more about our communications services, you can get in touch with our friendly team by clicking here.

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