Many entrepreneurs dream of opening up a restaurant and selling delicious meals to customers who can’t help but come back for more. One bite, one sip, and they’re certain they’ll have these customers for good. Sometimes this happens, but most times, it doesn’t. In fact, a study done by Ohio State University showed that 60 percent of restaurants do not survive the first year and that another 20 percent are likely to fail within five years.
So what can restaurants do to set themselves apart from the competition, and keep their doors open? It’s simple really. Many restaurants hire public relations specialists to help build their customer base and raise brand awareness. If you or your firm works in this industry, here are some ideas to help.
Challenges of Doing PR for Restaurants
Public relations firms that work with restaurateurs have their work cut out for them. This is because the restaurant business and the food industry, in general, represent one of the most saturated markets worldwide. Take a drive down any main street in America, and food options far outnumber any other type of business. As a result, these PR specialists work harder than most to ensure their clients shine in the limelight.
Foodie Experience a Plus
PR specialists in this field bring more to the table if they have been sitting at plenty, themselves. Food lovers and past or present owners of restaurants are equipt to tell restaurant owners what marketing strategy works best, and even how to present food to better entice customers. Presentation goes a long way in any business, especially in the food industry where people look for picturesque dishes to post on Instagram or other social media sites.
Connections in the Food Industry
Like almost any other specialization in public relations, having connections is key. These connections could be celebrities, food bloggers, and restaurant reviewers. Impressing these people and getting their endorsement attracts more people to see what the buzz is about for clients.
It can also help with managing a crisis, should one arise. For instance, in the midst of Chipotle’s e-Coli outbreak, photos surfaced of the Boston health inspector dining at the restaurant. This subtly helped to endorse Chipotle as a safe place to eat.
The Importance of Crafting a Good Story
People love a good story. We’ve loved them since we were three years old, and our parents or grandparents read them to us before tucking us into bed. It’s the reason content posted by just about anyone can go viral online, and why we love to watch movies and reality TV. As a result, crafting an interesting story to fit the restaurant’s brand image can go a long way.
It doesn’t need to be a true story; just an entertaining one with memorable characters. For instance, though few people could say how Chick-Fil-A came about, almost anyone knows the cows who desperately campaign for people to eat chicken to save their own skin.
Doing public relations in the restaurant business is no easy feat, but with the right attitude, connections, a good story, and a love for food, PR specialists can get the job done right every time.