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Bettie Bomb / PR for Restaurants  / How PR Agencies Can Help Restaurants During COVID

How PR Agencies Can Help Restaurants During COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown us all into a talespin. Regardless of who you are, it has affected you in some shape or form. Restaurants have taken one of the biggest hits in 2020 due to Covid-19 and millions of people in the hospitality industry lost their jobs overnight. For restaurant owners, it’s been a constant pivot and adaption of their business model. Opening, then closing, then opening again. It’s been an uphill battle and the sad reality is many have lost. But overall, we have a lot of restaurants who are continuing to push forward and are looking at 2021 with positivity and hopes for a better year. Below we’ll talk about ways PR agencies can help restaurants specifically during Covid-19 and how the vaccine will change the landscape.  

Restaurant PR

Public Relations, aka PR, is storytelling, building awareness and shaping a brand’s image through different forms of communication. Basically, an overall method of strategizing the spread of information to the public through traditional & social media, partnerships, events and more. Publicists connect with the ultimate gatekeepers, the media, to target audiences across the globe and craft newsworthy story angles to convey messages in the best possible light. 

Simply put, it’s communicating your message to an audience. It’s how you tell your story, where you tell it and to whom. Storytelling can be done in a variety of different ways and on multiple platforms, but using a strategy to determine which methods work for your target audience is key. Leveraging media channels such as TV, radio and print to promote and create a “word-of-mouth referral” is paramount – it cultivates a positive public image and gives instant brand recognition and credibility. It’s also the hardest to obtain – PR agencies use their relationships with the media to tell your story and secure coverage for free, known as “earned media.” There are also two additional forms of media, but we’ll get to that in a second. 

To secure earned media, Restaurant Public Relations Agencies help journalists by giving them the tools they need to create relevant stories that pertain to their readers, viewers and listeners. It’s their job to maintain a client’s exposure by creating new, different and interesting ways to tell their story. How do you want the public to see your brand or business? What are you doing to support your community? Are you an expert in your field? These are all questions a Publicist That Works With Restaurants will ask when creating a narrative that positions you as a leader to the media. 

Now more than ever, PR is pertinent when it comes to launching a restaurant and timing is everything! 

How PR Agencies Can Help Restaurants During COVID?

Overnight, Hospitality PR Agencies went from fluff to crisis. Working with chefs & restaurants is exciting, fast-paced and ever-changing…but the pandemic made it even more crazy. Usually the hospitality industry is always in need of PR and during a pandemic where they’re facing closures every single day, they need our help more than ever. Publicizing specials, menu changes, promotions, new chefs, events and everything in between is key to restaurants and keeps them in the limelight. From small independent restaurants to larger, hospitality groups, every business needs a different approach, but the same outcome…exposure, exposure, EXPOSURE. We work with restaurants across the board to create programming that not only resonates with the guests but that generates media interest in a Covid-19 world.

Back in March 2020, like many other Chicago Restaurant PR Agencies, we were scrambling to make sense of everything and support our clients. From updating the many websites and support groups on social media, which we’re created & devoted to compiling information regarding which restaurants were open to setting up our own initiatives of how we would safely cater to customers and even support our communities.

Today, nine months later, we look at a different social climate. One that has adjusted to Covid-19, but also one that is preparing for the vaccine. So what is safe and what is still not safe. We help restaurants navigate this week by week, month by month, as it still always changes. 

No matter if we’re in a pandemic or not, the main need of restaurants is “more butts in seats.” But how do we do that? Is it internal, meaning what the restaurant needs to do with expanding it’s menu choices, creating a better experience, offering more engaging events, changing it’s hours, etc? Or is it external, which is PR, marketing, social media, positioning to support what they are already doing internally? But here are different ways PR agencies help restaurant clients today and continue to navigate throughout the next trying year.

So what do you, as a restaurant owner, need to do? Here are the basics:

  • Create a safe, convenient and affordable option for consumers
  • Be a trusted business owner and thought leader
  • Support your community

As a Restaurant Public Relations Agency we help you by communicating your efforts to the masses in a variety of different ways. Earned media, social platforms and beyond. Also, staying connected to the top organizations that are assisting the hospitality industry right now such as the Illinois Restaurant Association. Staying up to date with all grants and helpful tools for restaurants to take advantage of and/or that will help change the landscape for dining indoors, etc. Another way is by keeping on top of the ever-changing news cycle and Covid-19 case numbers. Just as schools are making the last minute decisions to pivot from e-learning to hybrid in-person based on the Covid-19 numbers in their communities. Be ready at a moment’s notice to open back up or close.

The Best Restaurant PR Agencies are constantly trying to generate earned media by giving reporters, producers and editors the tools they need to create relevant stories that pertain to their readers, viewers and listeners. Pandemic or not, it’s our job to maintain a client’s exposure by creating new, different and interesting ways to tell their story. So as we continue to evolve into the vaccination phase, we’ll continue to educate ourselves on the safest options for consumers, adapt to that and communicate it to the media. We used to work 2-3 months out, yet now we can only forecast a few weeks to a month. But that being said, we still see a demand for curbside pickup, menu, contactless delivery, pick-up windows and dining rooms turned into food pantries & mini general stores, cocktails kits to go, family meals, etc for the next year.

Introduction to Bettie Bomb

Founded in 2005, Bettie Bomb is a Chicago PR Agency Specializing in Restaurants. We offer a suite of services from trusted industry partners under one creative umbrella. PR, Marketing, Social Media and beyond…we work as an extension of your team, creating personalized campaigns, building awareness and telling your story when it matters most.

We are a Chicago Public Restaurant PR Agency that also specializes in all things lifestyle: fashion, hospitality, retail, health & wellness, medical, consumer and philanthropy. Partners Rebecca Kussmann & Laura Collins work closely with businesses & organizations to target key audiences and generate exposure all under the Bettie Bomb umbrella. Work one-on-one or have us build a team. We can be BIG and we can be small…that’s the beauty of it. Small, but mighty with the ability to grow. That’s us in a nutshell.

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