Restaurant Marketing Tools: A Series

Social Media and PR

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MARKETING ANYTHING FROM A RESTAURANT OR FOOD PRODUCT TO A PAIR OF SNEAKERS begins from one central piece of knowledge: the customer profile. From there, any marketing methodology can be applied — and it will be the right one. Every business owner, especially a creative food person, struggles to know when and where to spend their
marketing dollars. Often, entrepreneurs are barraged with all kinds of opportunities and are swayed by buzz words which serve only as a vague compass from which to make decisions for restaurant marketing.

Two of those buzz words are “social media” and “PR.”

Business owners must first understand the big picture and that every business has three parts: The Product, The Operations and The Marketing. I call it “The P.O.M. Principle.” Product is the concept of the restaurant, the menu and the food and beverage program. The Operations are the systems that make it go: the venue, people, money, the POS system, your purveyors and how ingredients get to your location. The marketing is anything that gets that product onto the plate of a customer who will happily (and quickly) pay for the culinary experience. From fine dining to QSR, these edicts apply.

There are many types of marketing and we’ve included a little about what the “Social Media” and “Public Relations” methods can do for your business.

Social media is specific networks, or platforms on which people gather to socialize online. The major social media platforms of today are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Pinterest. There are many industry-specific groups within these platforms that are powerful places to market, such as Restaurant Owners on Facebook with 15,597 members or the National Restaurant Professionals group on LinkedIn with 15,973 members. In today’s world, you need a page for both you, as an individual, and one for your restaurant on each of these platforms. You can then network into groups to find like-minded peers, vendors and customers. On your page, you can create content that conveys the personality of your restaurant and your offerings and then connect with users doing your best to get them to engage with you.

PR is a very specific marketing modality that uses the objective voice of a reporter or influencer to give their unbiased, unpaid opinion about your restaurant. Reporters and influencers can be found on TV, radio and online as well as in magazines and
newspapers. Of all the marketing methods you can use, PR is often the first one employed as it is incredibly effective, wide-reaching and inexpensive. For that investment, you should expect them to write your press kit materials, land approximately one article a month and provide an accountability report of at least 350% ROI (based on advertising equivalencies).

Social media and PR work together in that when you have an announcement to make, your publicist should be able to create a “newsworthy pitch” to provide for the press and use social media to get that message to the press and potential customers.

Though this is an overall description; there is much more to learn about marketing. If you’d like an in-depth understanding of how to use PR for your business, there are books on the subject; one written by yours truly is called, PR Handbook for Entrepreneurs. Ironically enough, it was originally a PR Manual that I wrote for Mrs. Fields Cookies franchisees!

Also, for a full primer about all of the different types of marketing you can use to either launch a new concept or find new customers for an existing one, all Great Taste readers are welcome to download a free report called, Unraveling the Mysteries of What Marketing Means and The Marketing Umbrella: A List of Definitions.

Until then!

ABOUT THE WRITER | Alyson Dutch

Alyson Dutch, the CEO of Malibu, California based Brown & Dutch Public Relations, is the
author of PR Handbook for Entrepreneurs and PR Handbook for Food Franchisees. Dutch’s
communication style is straightforward, genuine, and savvy. Her passion for her work
drives her to apply her knowledge in a creative, yet methodical manner. In addition,
she has a keen understanding of the cultural sensitivities that rule the business
marketplace and commands the media’s attention.

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