UFood hires Castle Group for social media, retail expansion

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UFood Restaurant Group, a franchisor and operator of healthy alternative food service restaurants, has hired PR and events marketing firm The Castle Group as its first marketing agency. The firm will help UFood launch its first social media initiatives and grow its businesses in the US military community.

The company's social media efforts will use Facebook and Twitter, as well as other social networks. UFood plans to use social media to piggyback on the success of its e-mail club, which allows consumers to opt in for weekly news updates, coupons and special offers.

The Castle Group will also help UFood open franchise and company-owned retail locations at US military installations. The company now has locations in airports and hospitals, including Boston Logan International Airport, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. UFood, which has eight retail locations in the US, has signed 53 agreements to open future restaurants as part of its plans to expand nationwide.

“We want to get this concept out there everywhere,” said George Naddaff, UFood chairman and CEO.

UFood hired The Castle Group after a recommendation from a board member, said Charlie Cocotas, UFood COO.

The combination of Castle Group's military-related client list and social media expertise drew UFood to the firm, said Naddaff.

“We liked the fact that The Castle Group had military connections and could help us with social media,” he said.

“The military is a different arena than any we've done before [and we thought it would be] convenient to explore it with an outfit that also has social media experience.”

The Castle Group's clients in the military space include online college TUI University and military nonprofit Snowball Express.

“This will be a multi-tiered approach,” said Mark O'Toole, SVP at The Castle Group. “We'll look at the major social platforms to put out a message of nutritional value, and we'll use those platforms to promote to the military channels.”

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