Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the launch of the “Let’s Go Out” campaign, an effort to raise public awareness of the importance of supporting local restaurants across the Commonwealth. The campaign is being led by the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) in conjunction with the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and industry partners. The launch of the $1.9 million campaign is timed to coincide with the lifting of public health restrictions in Massachusetts and is scheduled to run throughout the summer, through September.
The mission of the campaign is to amplify the importance of restaurants as an integral part of daily life and a key driver of economic activity for the Commonwealth’s downtowns and main streets. “Let’s Go Out” is an extension of the Administration’s “My Local MA” campaign that has been encouraging residents to shop, dine and stay local since last August.
“Our administration recognizes that the challenges created by the pandemic have made the last year tremendously difficult for the entire small business community, and especially for the restaurant industry,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We have been proud to provide more than $688 million in grants to help restaurants and other hard-hit small businesses navigate these challenges, and look forward to building on that support through the ‘Let’s Go Out’ campaign to ensure a strong recovery for restaurants across the Commonwealth.”
“Throughout the pandemic, restaurants have demonstrated their resilience and creativity to adapt their operations in response to the public health crisis, from increasing delivery and takeout options to embracing outdoor dining,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “As our nation-leading vaccination program allows us to reopen our economy, we are glad to launch this campaign to stimulate recovery throughout Massachusetts by encouraging residents to return to their favorite restaurants and the communities they call home.”
Campaign ads will capture the meaningful moments that play out in restaurants, such as celebrating special occasions, reconnecting with friends, spending time with loved ones, or meeting someone new. Following the economic impact of COVID-19 on restaurants and the transition of many customers to delivery and takeout alone, this summer presents an opportunity for consumers to get out and reengage with friends and family, around the food they love in an atmosphere that invites emotional connections.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been pleased to launch a number of key initiatives among which include the largest-in-the-nation small business relief grant program, which directed about $224 million to the restaurant industry alone, funding to support modifications to public spaces to accommodate more and safer outdoor dining, and the successful ‘My Local MA’ campaign to encourage people to shop, dine, and visit locally,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “With the ‘Let’s Go Out’ campaign, we’re doubling down on our call to the public to buy local by reconnecting with friends and family around the tables of their favorite restaurant, the new tavern down the street, and the café with the live music.”
“As our restaurants reopen to capacity, it’s an exciting time for them to welcome back customers,” said MOTT Executive Director Keiko Matsudo Orrall. “The aim of the ‘Let’s Go Out’ campaign is to showcase the amazing diversity of restaurants we have across the state and encourage a return to in-person dining to support these businesses that are so critical to our economy. While there may be some changes at the restaurants, like new floor plans or contactless payment systems, the unparalleled experience of in-restaurant dining is essential to connection and community.”
The campaign, which will run through September 2021, will feature statewide coverage including display ads, digital billboards, posters, and radio spots, as well as billboards at Fenway Park. Additional billboards and display ads will be featured on highways and at Logan Airport, in partnership with MassDOT and Massport. A TV spot will also air on broadcast TV, including on NESN during Red Sox games in late summer. The campaign’s landing page, VisitMA.com/LetsGoOut, features campaign information and a growing restaurant directory.
“As the Senate Chair of Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development, and a member of the Restaurant Promotion Commission, I heard first-hand from industry leaders about the challenges facing restaurants before the pandemic hit – and there were many,” said Senator Ed Kennedy, a member of the Restaurant Promotion Commission. “Restaurants are the places where we meet up with friends, hold business meetings, and celebrate special occasions. They are an important part of the Commonwealth’s economic vitality and the center of our social lives. The restaurant sector was devastated during the pandemic and those businesses that have survived now need all our support to remain viable. As we lift restrictions and begin to go out again, please remember to eat local and shop local.”
“If my family were still in the restaurant business and had to contend with something like COVID-19, I don’t know how we would have survived,” said Senator Julian Cyr, a member of the Restaurant Promotion Commission. “After a painful test of their creativity, hard work, and crisis response, the restaurant workers who make their lives on the Cape and Islands are ready to welcome residents from across the Commonwealth and beyond. I’m optimistic that we will take action soon to see restaurant promotion kick into high gear — just in time for our busy season to begin in full.”
“Restaurants play an essential role in the local, regional and statewide economy,” said Representative Paul McMurtry, a member of the Restaurant Promotion Commission. “Not only in employing thousands of people, they are the center of community, socialization, and quality of life. Increased customer patronage and the continued support of the Legislature will strengthen the industry and assure a brighter future as we emerge from the pandemic.”
The “Let’s Go Out” campaign was developed in close collaboration with key industry stakeholders that offered their expertise and support, including the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, Mass Restaurants United, and members of the Restaurant Promotion Commission.
“Over the last year, restaurant owners and their staffs have shown great resilience and creativity as they invented new ways to engage with customers while dealing with important but difficult safety restrictions. The fact is, however, that in-person dining is critical to the health of the restaurant industry. With the ‘Let’s Go Out’ campaign, Massachusetts is making it clear that they support restaurants, and are taking the issue seriously. The Massachusetts Restaurant Association is proud to be a part of this statewide effort,” said Massachusetts Restaurant Association President and CEO Bob Luz.
For information, go to VisitMA.com/LetsGoOut.
The “Let’s Go Out” campaign will supplement My Local MA, the state’s marketing initiative to encourage residents of the Commonwealth to support their local economies by shopping at Massachusetts businesses and attractions. Launched in August 2020, the campaign was developed in response to the economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on small businesses and communities. The marketing outreach includes print, broadcast, billboard and digital ads, along with social media. The website LoveMyLocalMA.com features resources for businesses and consumers on how to get involved.
Last October, the Baker-Polito Administration released Partnerships for Recovery, the Commonwealth’s plan to help stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy. The plan focuses on getting people back to work, supporting small businesses, fostering innovation, revitalizing downtowns, and ensuring housing stability. Through Partnerships for Recovery, the Administration awarded more than $688 million to support small businesses, with one-third of the total program funding benefiting the restaurant and bar industry, and has opened new grant programs to revitalize downtowns, support cultural institutions, enhance tourist destinations, and fund regional economic development projects.