Client: Wasabi Group
Year: 2020 – present
Marketing Strategy, Photography, Narrative Advertising, and Campaign Development

A Digital Ads Success Story

A Winnipeg restaurant group started Facebook Ads at a time when restaurants were forced to close their doors, which led to more than 3,800 new visitors to their websites and over 8X return on ad spend.

The Story


In 1999, Cho Venevongsa opened his first Wasabi restaurant in Winnipeg’s iconic Osborne Village. Despite years of experience working in a sushi restaurant, Cho was faced with the uphill battle of bringing traditional Japanese cuisine to a city who, at the time, only had four sushi restaurants. 

Cho and his wife Tracy have enjoyed consistent success thanks to a commitment to using the finest quality ingredients, a desire to learn and innovate, and an unrelenting passion for traditional cooking techniques. Over 20 years later, the Wasabi Restaurant Group has two Wasabi restaurants, three Chosabi locations, and have recently opened their most recent restaurant venture, Cho Ichi Ramen, in 2018.

The Problem

It would be an understatement to say that Canada’s food service industry has undergone considerable change and challenge in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Winnipeg restaurants were forced to shut their doors indefinitely on multiple occasions throughout the 2020-2021 year, operators and owners were faced with the tough decision of staying open for takeout and delivery or temporarily shutting down. 

The Wasabi Group restaurants, who had built an empire on being innovative, knew they had to do something differently going into their second shutdown of the 2020 year. This is where we came in.

The Solution

Creating an online ordering system, a compelling campaign, and attributing sales

Our process started with the development and launch of a new brand and web presence for the Wasabi Group, bringing cohesion to their Winnipeg restaurant group and further articulating the story of each of their restaurant concepts. This was followed by three robust and visually engaging websites for Wasabi, Chosabi, and Cho Ichi Ramen all including the integration of e-commerce functionality. To facilitate online orders, we researched and sourced a third-party app for the restaurant group and found Ambassador, a platform from Toronto that does not charge unsustainable commission fees. Wasabi Group customers could now easily browse the menu and place their takeout order without leaving the website or picking up the phone.

Our team set up Facebook conversion campaigns for the Wasabi, Chosabi, and Cho Ichi restaurants showcasing some of each restaurant’s best selling items to a targeted audience in Winnipeg. The ads highlighted a 10% off deal on all Ambassador orders and included a “Get Offer” call-to-action that linked to each restaurant website. After a few months of broad advertising in Winnipeg, we were able to compile data on the people who were interested in these ads and use this information for our long-term targeting strategy going forward.

We optimized all of our ads to perform on any Facebook apps and used Automatic Placements allowing Facebook to deliver ads based on which placements were most likely to drive the best campaign results at the lowest cost.

We optimized all of our ads to perform on any Facebook apps and used Automatic Placements allowing Facebook to deliver ads based on which placements were most likely to drive the best campaign results at the lowest cost.

The Results

We measured our results from a January 8 – April 30, 2021 conversion campaign which resulted in:

Over 132K people reached

Over 3.8K unique website visitors

Over 136 website purchases

Over 8X return on ad spend

The Bigger Picture

Our digital ads on Facebook were one small component of a larger, ongoing digital marketing strategy for the Wasabi Group. Using a combination of social media management, paid digital advertising, and email marketing, we have been able to organically connect with their existing audience while promoting their businesses to new people every single day.

At the root of our marketing efforts is ongoing art direction and photography for all three restaurant concepts as well as supporting graphic design and hand-drawn illustrations demonstrated on the Wasabi, Chosabi, and Cho Ichi websites, on social media, in digital ads, and in email newsletters.

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