GFM Works in Lockstep with VICORP on a Very Sensitive Announcement

VicorpChallenge

When VICORP Restaurants Inc., owners of Village Inn and Bakers Square restaurants, made the decision in 2008 to enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they needed a PR partner with the experience, judgment and discretion to help them plan an extremely sensitive announcement and manage the multiple issues that unfolded in the months to follow. They called on GroundFloor Media’s (GFM) crisis communication and reputation management team for assistance to provide strategic counsel, develop talking points and ensure message consistency to internal and external stakeholders, and to help minimalize negative media coverage.

Solution

Working in lockstep with the leadership team at VICORP, GFM’s seasoned PR advisors held several closed-door sessions with VICORP executives to understand how many restaurants were closing and in what markets as well as any anticipated employees layoffs. The team then determined the most strategic way to communicate with key internal and external audiences such as employees, franchisees, vendors/suppliers, landlords, consumers and the media.

As the date of the filing approached, the GFM team conducted meetings and conference calls with VICORP’s CEO, management team, legal advisory team and board of directors to learn more about the business objectives and strategic planning surrounding the approaching event.

On the day of the bankruptcy filing, GFM worked onsite at corporate headquarters, attended key staff meetings, participated in internal field calls, and handled all media inquiries and media interviews with the company’s executives.

VicorpResult

Through real-time media monitoring, GFM was also able to stay on top of the story and provide key messages and additional facts to remedy potentially negative coverage, and continued to do so for months afterward. Conservatively, GFM estimates that more than 28 million media impressions were generated from print, broadcast and online coverage of the announcement including outlets such as Wall Street Journal, CNN, Chicago Tribune and The Denver Post. VICORP’s leadership team was extremely pleased with how GFM guided them through a very complex situation and the resulting coverage the team was able to achieve.

For its work on this complicated issue, GFM was awarded the Silver Pick Award for crisis communication from the Colorado Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.