Let’s give ’em something to taco ’bout! If you have a restaurant that needs publicity, we at Aspen- and Fort Lauderdale-based public relations agency Durée & Company have the recipe to make it stand out. Having worked with restaurants for more than 20 years, the Dynamos have experience in every area of this ever-changing industry. From tacos and steaks to specialty cocktails and decadent desserts, we promote the best restaurant brands, chefs and culinary start-ups, from Miami to Aspen, and everywhere in between!
With so many eateries around town, a publicity campaign must tell the right story to the right person at the right time. Great food is not always enough to make headlines. Chefs, new locations, special events, menu offerings, holiday promotions and staff additions all must go into the mix for a great public relations campaign. Whether you are opening a new restaurant, or you are introducing a new concept, you need strategic planning and the right public relations team to make it all work.
Here’s how public relations agencies can help you promote your restaurant:
Work that Media Relations Magic.
An agency will draft a press release that includes key marketing messages and all of the details a journalist will need to craft a story. This includes the who, what, when, where, why and how. It should also include links to the brand’s website and social media channels. In the food and beverage industry, imagery is key! Your press release should include a Dropbox link of food, lifestyle and restaurant images, as well as the chef’s headshot. Once the press release is ready, the goal is to secure media coverage by pitching it to a targeted media list. This includes a list of journalists, food critics and influencers. The pitch letter should also offer up a key spokesperson from the brand or the executive chef the journalist can contact for additional insight about the culinary concept.
One way to secure coverage is to media outlets to experience the restaurant or a specific promotion first-hand. By experiencing a media dine, the journalist can provide a genuine review. This can include:
the restaurant as a whole
its menu items or the chef in relevant articles
holiday roundups and dining guides
posts on social media.
We have executed this for or our client Kuba Cabana in CityPlace Doral – a lively dining concept that stems from the beautiful traditions of Latin and Caribbean music, cuisine and culture. Journalists and influencers were able to experience the energetic, culinary experience-based venue and sample the modern Latin-inspired menu.
Find an Angle.
Another great way to secure media coverage is to utilize relevant hashtag holidays for unique pitching angles. Nowadays, there is a unique hashtag holiday dedicated to anything and everything. And more and more holidays are added every day!
Hashtags help to…
- classify content
- make the subject more searchable
- expand a social media post’s reach
- increase engagement
- align restaurants with trending topics
You can leverage hashtag holidays such as National Sushi Day, National Burger Month, International Coffee Day, etc., to bring awareness to your restaurant by creating a limited-time offer or a special event.
In today’s restaurant industry, working with influencers to promote a restaurant is non-negotiable. Communicating with food bloggers, influencers and journalists can increase brand awareness and drive traffic to the restaurant. In addition to planning media dines, you can invite influencers to the restaurant to make a signature recipe with the chef or to do an Instagram takeover. That way, their followers will get a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of the restaurant. Make sure to choose a fun recipe that photographs well and makes their followers want to recreate it at home.
For National Vodka Day, we coordinated an Instagram takeover with POPSUGAR Home. We highlighted a cocktail recipe with our food and beverage client, Toast Vodka. The Toast Vodka mixologist created a custom pumpkin-themed cocktail and showcased it on the POPSUGAR Instagram account. We even got to create a branded name for the cocktail – POPSUGAR Pumpkin Punch!
Use social media to engage with guests and get them talking about your restaurant by posting creative content that tells the brand’s story. Influencers are pros at capturing content. The restaurant can then repurpose that content for its own social media and marketing materials. Use a custom hashtag on posts to help expand the reach beyond your social media network, engage with followers, and increase awareness for the restaurant.
Host an Event.
Whether virtual or in-person, an event can help introduce a dining concept to the community, media outlets, influencers and potential guests. From cooking classes, wine tastings, cocktail creations, special events and more, there are many ways to make your culinary concept shine. The event should provide guests with a true experience of the restaurant. During an in-person event, incorporate an interactive component that makes it memorable. Think: live music, a photo booth, decor.
If the event is virtual, such as a live cooking demonstration, send the recipe ingredients and any marketing materials ahead of the event so guests can have the items in front of them during the activation. The brand spokesperson or chef should be engaging and educate guests about the restaurant, its unique features and menu offerings. Include an engaging “Instagrammable” moment and a custom hashtag that will encourage guests to post about the event and further define the narrative. Also, don’t leave your guests empty-handed! Each guest should get fun swag, with a branded item from the restaurant and marketing materials.
When one of our clients, Los Angeles-based Mexican restaurant Pink Taco, had its grand opening in Miami Beach, it hosted a private VIP Preview Party and ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring a celebrity guest appearance by Snoop Dogg. Guests danced, savored Pink Taco’s signature margaritas and sashayed with Miami’s favorite drag queens for a night they’ll never forget. Those in attendance had the opportunity to exclusively experience the new restaurant and indulge in its menu items and great atmosphere.
Have a Plan.
There are many unforeseeable crises in the restaurant industry. These include a negative Yelp review, a poor health inspection, a food poisoning incident or another unfortunate circumstance. It’s important to have a crisis plan in your PR toolbox and a dedicated team to handle crisis communications. This team should be ready to craft and communicate the restaurant’s messaging both internally and externally.
Communication, timing and transparency are key. In today’s world, social media and the news cycle are 24/7. A crisis going viral is just one click away. Restaurant crises require immediate attention, and a quick and efficient response to any media or guest inquiry is crucial. The restaurant owner or manager should be at the forefront of the problem and remain accessible. Any updates regarding the crisis should be communicated as soon as they happen, in real time.
Draft a statement with an accurate recap of what transpired. This statement can be used for media, as well as on your website and social media channels. Continuously monitor social media platforms for any negative posts. By having a plan in place, taking the right steps, and being transparent, restaurants can deal with a crisis situation effectively. And they are more likely to recover from the situation positively.
If you’re interested in learning more about restaurant public relations to promote your eatery, contact the professionals at Durée & Company. Check out our Dynamo Diary or Instagram page for more insights and #behindthescenes action!
About Durée & Company, Inc.
Durée & Company, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service public relations, marketing and special events firm founded in 1999. The firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Aspen, Colorado. Durée & Company serves the corporate, agency and nonprofit arenas for local, national and international clients. Services include public relations, social media, marketing, digital marketing, content development, advertising, special events, branding, radio promotions, affiliate marketing and more. Durée & Company clients include well-known names in yachting, business, real estate, hospitality, travel, cannabis and hemp, wellness and CBD, art and culture, fashion, nonprofit organizations, legal and professional services. Durée & Company is a member of PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), an international network of boutique PR firms. To learn more, call 954-723-9350; go to dureeandcompany.com; or visit its new, specialized cannabis- and CBD-specific site at cannabismarketingpr.com. Join the social conversation and follow Durée & Company on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn at @DureeCoPR.