Creating Integrated Restaurant Public Relations Promotions
Too often restaurant companies engage the services of a public relations firm without clear understanding of what they need or want and/or what the firm can and should deliver.
One of the most effective ways to ensure you get the most bang for your public relations buck is to create integrated public relations promotions. By this, we mean asking your public relations firm to develop promotions for your business that addresses multiple opportunities or goals. This provides your PR firm a tangible program to execute strategy against and also offers a measurable means to determine success – for both the PR firm and the promotion.
For example, a restaurant company may ask a PR company to design a promotion to address the following:
•Reintroduce your restaurant(s) to local media, food-centric bloggers, etc.
•Increase awareness of the brand within your DMA.
•Reinforce your brand based on your mission statement.
•Build your database of new guests (or obtain new data on existing guests – email addresses for example if you have a large database of mail-only addresses).
•Drive new incremental revenue during the promotional period
•Drive incremental revenue after promotional period (by being able to convert new guests to regular guests)
•Provide positive ROI against promotion.
These integrated campaigns may be “stand-alone” promotions developed specifically to drive revenue in an otherwise soft period such as the summer, however your public relations firm should also be developing integrated campaigns for even your “regular” promotions such as Mother’s Day, Easter and the Holidays. Even campaigns developed to promote elements of your business such as catering or “curbside to-go” should be integrated. It’s simply a matter of identifying how to expand an existing program to “fire on more cylinders” and ensuring your public relations firm is leveraging all of your efforts for maximum return.
We recently executed a summer promotion for a client that included a sweepstakes element. The winning family enjoyed a week sailing with the company's corporate chef serving as their personal chef! The company gained incremental revenue during the promotional period, database growth, increased media coverage, brand awareness and continued lift following the promotional period.
Once you identify a promotion – whether it’s a new stand-alone promotion or the build-out of an existing promotion, your public relations firm should be able to expand the campaign to address additional goals that will benefit your business.
As an example, let’s look at Mother’s Day. Let’s assume in the past your restaurant traditionally created a special prix-fixe menu which you promoted on Facebook and your website, with check presenters and posters in the restaurant.
With the assistance of your public relations firm, you’ll be able to create a far more robust campaign. First, you need to realize that if you’re like most restaurant owners you’re going to have to start planning a bit farther ahead than you regularly do.
Next, you have to realize that your traditional Mother’s Day offering probably isn’t “newsworthy.” That’s ok. It’s up to your PR firm to determine how to put the appropriate promotion together that’s brand appropriate and will create the interest the PR firm needs to go out and promote Mother’s Day for your restaurant(s).
Typically we’ve found that adding just one or two interesting elements to an existing promotion is enough to make it stand out from the crowd, to make it a “story” and to give us the angle we need to generate buzz about our client’s restaurant(s).
From here we’re able to layer in the various components that provide incremental benefit for our clients which may include increasing their visibility in the marketplace, highlighting expanded holiday hours, menu, etc., expanding their database and driving new clients to their restaurant(s).
Tactics employed include developing interesting, hard working press releases; hosting preview menu tasting for food bloggers and local food and lifestyle writers and ensuring placement of stories about the given promotion.
We incorporate promotional elements into Facebook to increase fan engagement and activity. We leverage the website for promotion, reservations and database development. And we create a strategy to more effectively communicate with the various constituents within the database.
Executed in concert, our clients realize a greater return on these integrated public relations campaigns – and the results last far past the promotional period.
We hope you found this of interest. If you’re considering hiring a PR firm – here’s an interesting article from O’Dwyer’s. http://www.odwyerpr.com/how_to_hire/how_to_hire.htm
ABOUT THE HINSON GROUP
The Hinson Group, Inc. is an award-winning, full service marketing, strategic branding and public relations firm with a reputation for building equity for our client’s brands. We apply our collective years of experience to your business and with it, we deliver results. Specialized areas of expertise include hospitality, retail, consumer goods and not-for-profit.
For information, please contact Deborah Hinson at 888-445-7323 x713 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.