Harrah’s Cherokee Casino to open Paula Deen restaurant
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel has announced a partnership with Paula Deen Enterprises to open Paula Deen’s Kitchen in late 2010, according to the (Asheville, N.C.) Citizen-Times
This will be Harrah’s first new restaurant, which is being introduced as part of a $633 million, three-year expansion program.
The restaurant will be full-service, seating 404, and will be buffet-style, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The interior design and décor will be similar to Deen’s restaurant in Savannah, Ga.
Adjacent to the restaurant will be a 1,800-square-foot Paula Deen retail shop that will sell Deen’s cookbooks, spices and food items, in addition to cookware, logo wear and gifts.
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel is an Asheville-based enterprise of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is open 24 hours a day to guests 21 years of age or older.
Paula Deen Enterprises, based in Savannah, is the driving force behind cook, restaurateur, author and television personality Paula Deen. Deen runs her own restaurant called The Lady & Sons with her two boys, Jamie and Bobby, also television personalities on the Food Network.
The expansion of Harrah’s Cherokee
is currently the largest hospitality expansion project underway in the Southeast
and one of the largest in the United States. It is intended to offer the largest number of hotel accommodations in the Carolinas.
Upon completion in 2012, the 56-acre property will have added a third hotel tower incorporating luxury accommodations and high-end suites, a 3,000-seat events center, entertainment and VIP lounges, 18,000-square-foot spa, all new state-of-the-art digital poker room, Asian gaming room, a variety of new restaurant and retail outlets and new hotel and casino parking garages.
Harrah’s Cherokee is also renovating its current casino facilities and doubling the size of its casino floor to 195,000 square feet while increasing video and table game capacity.
Advertising Manager Sean Ross told WinmoEdge that it would be premature to discuss what sort of impact Paula Deen’s new restaurant will have on the expanded facility, citing that the news is still very early and it hasn’t broken ground yet.
Harrah’s Cherokee utilizes a broad multimedia mix, which is similar to Harrah’s Entertainment’s media spend, which The Nielsen Company reported as $74 million total in 2008. Ross said that this spend is probably greater for Cherokee specifically, because the casino has to reach a much wider parameter.
Harrah’s Entertainment spent about $25 million on spot television ads, about $21.3 million on outdoor ads and about $10 million on local newspaper, according to The Nielsen Company.
“We like to advertise in a 300-mile radius, which is covering several states,” he said. “A lot of times, you’ll see a casino advertising against the casino across the street, but we’re basically competing against ourselves. It’s a unique situation but to continue to grow the business, you have to be aggressive with the advertising.”
Social media is also a big part of the strategy, with an account on Facebook and Twitter. Ross said that Harrah’s Cherokee is looking to expand this effort, and potentially entering into the YouTube realm.
“It’s too soon to tell (what will happen with YouTube),” he said. “It’s informal walk-through’s of the expansion areas and things of that nature, but it’ll be something less professional and more informal to reach the masses.”
Harrah’s Cherokee’s target market is consumers aged 35 to 64, skewing towards a 50-year-old female. Ross said that this unlikely demographic was determined through lots of market research activity.
“I think the overall package all of the new amenities as they come online will widen those parameters significantly,” he said.
Ross feels the economy has presented Harrah’s Cherokee with a challenge this past year, as goes the same for most other businesses. He said that Harrah’s Cherokee has taken certain measured to offset this effect, but it has still had an impact on the casino.
Our source confirmed that Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel utilizes the same agencies that the corporate Harrah’s Casino & Hotel segment works with, including San Francisco-based BBDO West and Los Angeles-based PHD for its creative efforts, and New York-based Zenith Media for its media buying and planning.
Ross added that Harrah’s Cherokee is always open to strategic partnership approaches and opportunities, “without a doubt.”
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel
777 Casino Drive
Cherokee, N.C. 28719
Senior Vice President & General Manager