Savor Sarasota Dishes Up More Than Fine Food

Guest Correspondence

Photo courtesy Visit Sarasota: Crab & Fin Restaurant.

June is my favorite month here in Sarasota County. It marks the return of the annual event that is very special to me – Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week.

Now in its 19th year, Savor Sarasota runs from Saturday, June 1 to Friday, June 14,. It is a delightful celebration of our Visit Sarasota County partner restaurants, offering mouthwatering two-course lunches for $25 per person and three-course dinners for $40 per person, along with upgrades including wine flights and cocktail pairings. Savor Sarasota has become so much more than just about the food; it is about bringing our wonderful Sarasota community together to support local restaurants and hospitality workers. 

In 2005, I helped spearhead this program along with restaurateurs like Michael Klauber to shine a light on Sarasota’s vibrant and growing restaurant scene during what was typically a “slow season.” We saw an opportunity to showcase how our community is a paradise for food lovers, offering a rich, bountiful and eclectic mix of cuisines from cutting-edge to classic, local to global, all thanks to the creativity and spirit of our chefs and restaurateurs. This event has become a key ingredient in our local economy, boosting business for our local restaurants and making Sarasota County a better place to live and dine.

To get the word out about Savor Sarasota, we’ve engaged the full breadth of our VSC resources. We have implemented an advertising campaign focused on digital placements within the state, including paid social media ads. Our PR team has launched a campaign to secure earned media opportunities via broadcast and online stories. On our VSC social pages, we are utilizing video content, ad campaigns and digital amplification of custom content, featuring select Savor Sarasota restaurants and chefs on Facebook and Instagram.

We’re also engaging our audience through opportunities to win exciting prizes. Over at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, our visitor experience staff are handing out Savor Sarasota menus, along with treats being served during Savor Sarasota to arriving visitors to encourage them to come out for a meal during their visit.  As an example, Hamlet’s Eatery will be providing a watermelon drink one afternoon to arriving passengers near baggage claim.

These initiatives are all done as an effort to build upon the great success the program has experience over the years. Last year, 63 restaurants participated in the program. Combined, they served over 20,000 lunches and dinners generating nearly $700,000 in revenue. We expect to exceed those numbers this year. 

We invite everyone to visit SavorSarasota.com for all the latest information on the event. When you do visit one of our amazing restaurants during Savor Sarasota, please make sure to tag @VisitSarasota on Facebook and @VisitSarasotaCounty on Instagram and incorporate the hashtag #SavorSarasota! I expect after a meal or two at one of our amazing restaurants, June may become one of your favorite months as well.

Erin Duggan is President and CEO of Visit Sarasota County.

Photo courtesy Visit Sarasota: Crab & Fin Restaurant.

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