How PR Can Help You Launch a Restaurant
What is Restaurant PR
Public Relations For Restaurants involves 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 Public Relations 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 That Work With Restaurants 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 Can Help Restaurants?
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? It’s both actually…we work with restaurants to create programming that not only resonates with the guests but that generates media interest. We also develop a strategy & plan that highlights internal initiatives and positions the chef and/or restaurateur.
The media are interested in ideas that are new, timely, topical and different. 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!
When To Hire a PR Agency For a Restaurant Launch
Have you heard of the saying, “Timing is Everything?” In Restaurant PR, this is the most important aspect, especially when it comes to a restaurant launch. A launch strategy needs the proper amount of time to work with the team to create the proper messaging, compile materials, work with you to get to know your brand, and strategically plan an interesting media campaign that aligns with your goals, ultimately building awareness to drive business. There are so many things to keep in mind and you will want to make sure that there is enough time to share the message to align with the opening. Every campaign is different, but all of this being said, we would recommend hiring your Restaurant PR Agency two to three months prior to opening for a solely local campaign and for a larger scale opening where you would be seeking national press, a minimum of four months would be appropriate timing. You might be asking yourself, what is the difference between a local and national campaign? The answer is that many local media are considered to be short lead, which means that they mainly work a couple weeks to a month out and national print media work four to six months out. This means if you want the opening to be covered in these types of outlets, you have to get your message to them to align with the timing for the story.
PR Strategies For Launching a Restaurant
Developing a Good Restaurant PR Strategy is pertinent to launching a restaurant. It’s also an essential part of the plan for building its credibility and awareness. It allows the owners to communicate essential information while influencing consumer behavior.
What we call a “rolling thunder” strategy is most successful. 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 a Chicago PR Agency That Works With Restaurants 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 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.