DePasquale Gives Lesson in Restaurant Marketing

April 2, 2012
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When Japan Airlines announced some months back it was going to expand its service from Boston to Tokyo and from Tokyo to Logan as soon as it took possession of the new Boeing 787, a few people listened up carefully and began drawing up their own plans.

North End restaurateur Frank DePasquale was one of those who saw the potential benefit in Japanese Airlines’ upcoming expansion.

He’s already printing menus in Japanese for those who will eat at Mare, his Richmond Street seafood and shell fish emporium. He is attempting to make Mare the first stop for Japanese travelers to Boston and he’s depending upon the quality of the seafood products and shellfish on the menu to resonate with the Japanese.

While Logan Airport officials and travel experts predicted as much as a $200 million rise in spending by Japanese visiting Boston – that would be up from the $130 million spent here by Japanese businesspeople and travelers last year – that amount could be more.

This enormous expansion of Japanese travel to Boston struck DePasqualee as a perfect coincidence as he has been working to find a reason to exist for his up-scale, modernistic oyster bar, Mare.

Located at 135 Richmond Street, Mare has recently undergone a new incarnation by DePasquale and a reopening, of sorts, and little by little, the place has been filling up with very pleased and happy diners for what is arguably some of the finest, sweetest, freshest oysters on the shell, Littleneck clams on the shell, Alaskan King Crab, Stone Crab Claw, shrimps and lobster.

“We are reaching out to Japanese travelers, tourists and businessmen who frequently come to Boston to let them know Mare is here to make them feel at home with the shell fish, drinks and seafood they tend to enjoy,” said DePasquale. “We don’t just wish that they eat at Mare, but that they come to view Mare as a place where they will feel comfortable with other Japanese and to make Mare a mandatory first stop for all Japanese visiting Boston,” he added.

In this respect, DePasquale is doing what the Irish bar owners have done so well in making their Boston pubs welcoming entertainment venues for the Irish who visit and live here as well as for everyone else wishing to taste a bit of the Irish flavor and zest for life.

“I want the Japanese visitors to Boston to identify with Mare, to eat and drink among friends here and to make Mare a mandatory place to eat and to enjoy,” he added.

Indeed.

Japanese tourism is expected to go up by at least 20% this year and will likely double by 2014.

Much of this is due to the Boeing 787’s comfort and economy. The 787 uses 20% less fuel than present jet airliners making the Boston-Japan/Japan-Boston run much more economical. With flights costing less and interest in Boston rising for Japanese tourists and businesspeople. DePasquale is preparing for the expansion of Japanese visitation to Boston.

In doing so, he shows he knows a thing or two about what he is doing.