Dining Out on Restaurant PR
London has solidified its reputation as a first class gastronomic destination, with five of the capital’s eateries making it into Restaurant magazine’s ‘top 100 restaurants in the world’ this year. In fact, ‘Dinner by Heston’ at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London was named as one of the top 10 restaurants in the world.
With publicity like this, the restaurant business in the capital has never been so prominent – and it’s predicted to grow a further 2.5% over the next two years.
The restaurant industry is highly competitive. But PR can help you stand out from the crowd.
PR just got tasty
Whether you’re launching a new restaurant concept or attempting to raise the profile of your existing business, a well-run restaurant PR campaign can provide exponential word-of-mouth impact. If people hear about your establishment via a glowing review from a respected restaurant critic or food and drink journalist, you’ve won half the battle for customers.
So let’s have a look at the ways in which PR can help you, whatever stage your restaurant is at.
PR for a new restaurant
If you’re launching a new restaurant, you need to get people talking about it. You want images of your dishes on Instagram, positive recommendations on influential restaurant booking platforms like Bookatable, and glowing reviews on foodie blogs and in the national press. You can get these by inviting key influencers such as restaurant critics, food bloggers and specialist food and drink writers to an exclusive preview tasting, prior to launch. This is an excellent way to meet the folk that can do the talking for you.
Bloggers tend to share content across a number of social media platforms. So be prepared to engage with them before and after your event.
Tasting is believing. So sampling is another great way to attract new customers. Take advantage of local events and busy traffic areas for sampling. Or, hold a sampling event at the restaurant. You could also schedule a media-only sampling night to build relationships with local and regional media contacts.
Change of Menu
If you’re already running a successful restaurant, but you’re introducing a new menu, pick up the telephone and invite food editors and critics to join you for a ‘unique culinary experience’. Integrate yourself in the experience by inviting them into the kitchen to watch you prepare a dish: this will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, share your insights on the local food industry and explain the thinking behind your new menu – all in casual conversation.
Unique experiences like this give an influential media personality reasons to write about your restaurant, or call on you for future stories. It will also provide you with an ideal opportunity to trial your new menu on a select group of foodies, all of whom have an eye and a taste for good quality food.
Make your name in the media
When you hear the name The Seafood Restaurant, you automatically think of Rick Stein. The brand and restaurant are inextricably linked. This is what you want for your brand.
Take this recent PR Superstar brief for example. I was approached by TV and celebrity restaurateur David Moore (founder and owner of Michelin-starred Pied à Terre and L’Autre Pied in London’s West End) to raise his personal profile and those of his restaurants. In the press materials, I focused on the highs and lows of his extraordinary 30-year career in the global hospitality industry; from working his way up from waiter to assistant restaurant manager at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, to his dramatic fight back from financial ruin, to single-handedly creating two of Britain’s most successful independent restaurants.
Use every opportunity with the media to communicate your story – the personal challenges you’ve had to overcome on the way to launching your restaurant, your unique experience in the industry and most importantly, your passion for creating outstanding dishes and experiences for your guests.