Drive down any major highway or through any populated downtown area and you will likely pass more restaurants than you can count. Likewise, when you ask someone what they like to do, a great majority of people will answer “well, I like to eat!” According to U.S. census figures, there are over 220,000 full-service restaurants in the United States alone and hundreds more opening everyday. That amounts to several thousand, to tens-of-thousands per state—each one vying for business.
In such a highly saturated market place, grabbing the attention of potential patrons can be daunting. But not impossible. A strategic public relations campaign can get public attention and give restaurant sales a huge boost!
Whether you’re a public relations firm or a restaurateur, one of the first things you must consider is the restaurants unique features and attributes. What kind of cuisine does it serve? Is there, anything special about the location or the facilities? How about the business model? No matter what it is, truly unique features will help a restaurant stand out from its local and regional competitors.
Media Doesn’t Cover Mediocre
Now that you’ve identified the unique selling points of the restaurant, it’s time to let the world know about them. Media coverage has to be exciting, interesting and/or thought provoking for coverage to be considered. Offering up story ideas to local press that are vastly different than what restaurants have done in the past will most certainly gain attention. Let the world know what it is the restaurant has to offer that beats, or is better than, anywhere else.
Creating special events based on these unique identifiers will help too. For example, if the restaurant is the only location to serve cactus soup, perhaps an event hosted alongside desert conservationists that aims to educate the public and raise funds for the local conservation would be a great idea. Events that challenge public perception of what is hip or relevant and that also garners attention for worthy charities, is always a good way to go. In today’s fast paced business world, public relations specialists need to be on point and multi-faceted in approaching client needs. Cross promotional opportunities is an excellent way of doing just that.
When in Doubt—Talk it Out
Sometimes putting it all out there just isn’t enough. Building sufficient buzz regarding a restaurant can take time and money but the rewards can be plentiful. The restaurant business is a people business, after all, and the patron’s relationship to the location– even to its staff–is of the highest priority. Not to mention how they feel about the food!
Don’t wait for comments or conversations to be brought forward. Seek them out. Social media is by far the easiest way to keep tabs on what people are saying and an excellent way to evaluate public relations efforts. Both Facebook and Twitter are great platforms to engage with publics. You may even find that what may seem like obvious breadwinning attributes for the restaurant are really not and the adoring fans really just want more of that specialty menu drafted earlier that season!
Like any other industry for any other business, what separates a client from their competition is bottom-line important. It gives patrons and customers a reason to stay and a reason to return. Foster positivity and creativity in potential clients or potential press leads. Effective public relations tactics means building the client’s brand and highlighting their unique selling points.