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Bettie Bomb / PR for Restaurants  / How PR Agencies Drive Traffic For Restaurants

How PR Agencies Drive Traffic For Restaurants

Driving traffic to restaurants can mean a lot of different things…building buzz, increased website impressions, more engagement on social media, etc. But the bottom line is, “more butts in seats.” 

Restaurants hire PR agencies to build awareness, create buzz, develop promotional ideas and press materials, etc. But the number #1 job is to reach out to the media and garner earned media. This drives traffic as when people read about a restaurant or see them on TV, they want to visit the restaurant. Below we’ll discuss top ways to drive traffic in an effort to get more people into your restaurant.

The power of PR is real and it can make or break a restaurant. It is powerful because it’s earned communication, not paid. It is the most unbiased, honest depiction a restaurant will receive, making it the most credible type of coverage. That being said, restaurants don’t have control over it, so PR Agencies have to be strategic, flexible and consistent. Restaurants won’t always achieve it, but when they do, it’s gold and long-lasting.

Restaurant PR Agencies Explained

Public Relations Agencies That Specialize in Restaurants help with 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 – Restaurant 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, PR 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 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 Drive Traffic Restaurants?

Restaurant PR Agencies are constantly brainstorming pitch angles, promotional ideas and anyway to differentiate their clients and make them stand out as this is what will catch media attention. And when you have media attention, you get press, which ultimately drives traffic. 

Earned media is one of the top ways to drive traffic to restaurants as it establishes credibility and trust with consumers. People know when they are reading an advertisement, which is touting a restaurant being #1 or having the best pizza in the city. That’s what the business is trying to convey and isn’t necessarily the opinion of consumers. When consumers read a review or story in a credible media outlet about a restaurant, it makes them pay attention and they remember. 

Restaurant Public Relations 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. 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 will ask when creating a narrative that positions you as a leader to the media. 

One of the most important types of earned media for restaurants is a critic review. This is extremely coveted and then once you get it, restaurants need it to be exceptional. When you’re a new restaurant, it’s easy to get the attention of top critics, but then you also don’t want them to come into the restaurant too early before the “training wheels have come off.” It’s a very calculated move.

And once you received any type of earned media…recycle it! Create a press page on your website and post all over social media.

Another way to drive traffic is to create a promotion that is new, timely, topical or different. The media are also hot on the trail for any news that falls under one of these categories. What is your restaurant offering that no other restaurant is? Or is it the holidays and they’ve created something super creative for Christmas, Hanukkah, etc? Is there national news that you can weigh on and talk about as it relates to you? These are all ways to be positioned and generate exposure, which ultimately drives traffic to your website and into your restaurant. 

Here’s an example: We work with Chez Moi, a French bistro in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Owner and Chef Dominique Tougne worked at the critically-acclaimed Bistro 110, located off Michigan Avenue for 15 years and was known throughout Chicago. Tourists and locals alike loved this restaurant and were sad to see it close. As a way to generate business during a slower time at Chez Moi, we decided to offer a “Tribute to Bistro 110” menu during March. The menu featured signature dishes from the beloved restaurant and people absolutely loved it!

For new restaurants, a great way to drive traffic is what we call a “rolling thunder.” This means you don’t share all of the information about your restaurant at once, but rather choose certain aspects to share with the appropriate media outlets at different times. This can mean the main announcement outlines the name, chef, location, is shared to one outlet, the menu to another, interior photos to another – you get it! This rolling effect will create anticipation and the public will be knocking down your door to dine! 

Introduction to Bettie Bomb

Founded in 2005, Bettie Bomb is Chicago’s Best Restaurant PR Agency, offering 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 female-owned, Boutique Chicago Restaurant PR Agency specializing in all things lifestyle: food, 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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