Public relations are all about your restaurant’s image. Good PR is the best type of free advertising; bad
PR can be a complete disaster. So, how do you ensure that your PR is helpful
Invite the Media
Although there is always a risk involved when you invite
local food critics to your establishment, getting them there gives you a chance
at getting some of your best PR. I know I read the local paper’s food column religiously. They don’t
only review the big, fancy restaurants in town. They also hit those that could
easily be called “hole-in-the-wall” places as well. Some of their best finds are small, out of
the way places with exceptional specialty menus.
On Day One
The first time you can establish a relationship with your
local news sources is on opening day. Make sure you provide information about
your upcoming opening often and early. The catch is to keep that PR going once
you have passed the first glow.
You don’t have to think big
to get good PR. Start by offering part of your seating for restaurants to those
who are effective. Target those journalists and members of the media who you
know have an interest in your type of cuisine or who have influence in your
community. It doesn’t have to be the leading critic; even a small one will do.
Your goal is to create a “win-win” situation.
As reporters are always looking for an angle or a story,
you can tap into that need. For example, be unique. New dishes or menu items
are a nice way to get your favorite journalist to come back.
Fill Plates with Up to Date Choices
It’s a fact that tastes change constantly. By keeping up with
the latest trends, you encourage repeat trips by your favorite reviewers. That’s also true for your guests. If you can connect your new
choices to something that is already in the media, you can make the most of the
Maintain a Digital Marketing Pamphlet
To keep your name in front of those who matter, keep a
digital marketing pamphlet available at all times. That way, you are ready to
send it out at a moment’s notice. Your
favorite critic may move on to bigger and better things, but you should be
prepared to make contact with whomever is selected as a replacement.
Furthermore, you can send the pamphlet along to any new contacts you make as
Keep in Touch
Even with an established relationship with local reporters
and critics, you must keep in touch on a regular basis. Send sample menus,
regular invitations, photos, human interest bits and so forth. Make it easy for
them to get a story and simplify the process of keeping up to date and they
will repay you by providing you with favorable PR.
Keeping your restaurant humming may take a bit of effort,
but this kind of work can really pay off in the bottom line.