Restaurant Public Relations: Anyone with a Checkbook Can Buy an Ad

Restaurant public relations (PR) builds credibility.  Anyone with a checkbook can buy an ad, but not just anyone gets written about.

Restaurant Public Relations

We can all agree that the best restaurant marketing is word of mouth.  However, if it’s not worth writing about, it’s not worth talking about.

Journalists are more acutely trained than the rest of us to see what’s different (see Restaurant Marketing: Be the Only).  They don’t produce stories in newspapers, magazines and feature restaurants on TV and on the radio that are just the same as everybody else.  They produce stories about what’s different, unique, has all of the elements of great story (hero, villain, antagonist, protagonist, conflict and resolution, etc).

Betterness claims don’t get published unless they can be substantiated by a solid point of difference – something unique.

Likewise, restaurant consumers don’t go out and sing the praises of a restaurant to all of their family and friends unless they experience something truly remarkable and DIFFERENT.

Restaurant PR (restaurant public relations) is about building credibility and getting the implied endorsement of media who write about your restaurant.  Consumers are savvy.  They know that ads are bought but that good editorial coverage is earned.  When a respected media outlet is so intrigued by a restaurant company that they do a story on them in their editorial section, consumers are more interested in visiting the restaurant (this is in part why both Chipotle and Celebrity Farmer Joel Salatin are the darlings of the industry – they have a great story).

Think of Restaurant PR like this – imagine the kid who got in to Stanford because his family had connections versus the one who got in based on the merit of his grades and contributions to his community.  Who would you root for if you were an objective outsider?  The one that earned it in most cases.

When consumers flip through newspapers, magazines, the channels, etc – they give more credit to those who earned editorial coverage than those who bought advertising.  If you want to shave money from your restaurant marketing budget and grow a strong local, regional, national or international brand, you need to invest in a solid restaurant public relations program.

Restaurant Consultant Aaron Allen


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