Living in the New York Market, I got used to the loud chatter of restaurateurs trying to lure customers into their restaurants. While the restaurant industry has always been demanding, it is becoming even more so because of COVID -19. The urgency to spread the word has never been greater than it is today. In my opinion, many restaurateurs have yet to adopt a new way of delivering their message. Traditional forms of advertising restrict the amount of content delivered to the consumer in a message. I have no doubts that this is one of the reasons why a lot of the restaurant advertising I hear and see is limited to the safety measures restaurant owners take to protect customers and employees. Of course, in these extraordinary times, safety is a major concern for many consumers. However, getting more information about your business is essential to attracting customers. It is essential not to get lost in the monotony that has become the advertising of restaurants. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that restaurants provide essential service and a pleasant experience to their customers. People who return to dining out certainly want safety. Yet they also expect great food, service and a feeling of being back to normal.
So how do you ensure that your brand’s voice is strategically delivered in a unique way? My recommendation to my clients is to use public relations as a method of telling their stories. Public relations firms specialize in acquiring print and digital media coverage. They also use other digital marketing methods, such as influencers and popular hotel reviews, to engage new and old customers. It is this third party, the “validation” that sets you apart from basic selfish advertising.
Earned media increases visibility
Debra Vilchis, The COO of Fishman Public Relations puts it this way: “A TV segment or online news article where a restaurant owner is asked about safety and health measures, including photos or videos of protocols in action go a long way in allaying people’s fears. about going out to eat again. The story and video are then posted on the news channel’s website and on social media. People head to the restaurant’s website or social media profiles where they find reassuring updates on what the restaurant is doing to keep employees and customers safe.Our PR agency works around the clock to reach out to people. media on behalf of our restaurant clients since early March about all of these things. “
Whether or not you hire a PR firm, there are many steps a restaurateur can take to increase their visibility. Large franchised restaurant chains and independent operators may view public relations as an alternative or additional tool in their overall marketing strategy. I’ve included a shortlist of methods to consider when using public relations and social media to promote your restaurant or franchise. Responding to customer concerns about Covid-19 while creating compelling reasons to visit your restaurant should be the goal when developing a marketing plan.
Add your personal story to the message
It all starts with telling your story. Every restaurateur, as well as the founder or franchisee of a franchised restaurant, has one. Telling your story can be as easy as talking about what inspired your menu. Are you starting a franchise that serves some of your grandmother’s recipes? Did you decide you wanted to be a chef or restaurateur at a young age? These intriguing memories help you connect with potential customers by making you feel better. Telling your story through an active social media account or press release gives newspapers, websites, and other platforms a place to start. It attracts journalists who may want to write an article or review about your restaurant. 
Take advantage of social media
When it comes to connecting with customers, nothing works like social media. Your restaurant should have a full and active profile on all platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Additionally, you need to make sure that your Google profile is accurate and compelling. The first thing many customers will do when they find out about your restaurant is check your social media presence. They’ll expect to see reviews, sample menus, photos and more. Social media is the most influential type of messaging because it allows you to attract new customers with very little time, effort, and money.
Make sure you have some news to share
Another essential PR method is to stay relevant and always have news to share. People like to be “in the know!” Wondering what is deemed worthy of interest and what is not? Well, are you opening a new location or franchising your restaurant? It’s a short story ! Do you donate a portion of your proceeds to a specific charity, such as a local food bank? It’s a short story ! Do you send some of your waiters or line cooks to help serve meals at a homeless shelter ?.
Regarding interesting and engaging customer information, Vilchis added: “If you think about it, consumers had nothing else to do but consume media 24/7, especially during the early stages of the market. pandemic. talk about their delivery and take-out options, the security measures they were taking and their plans to reopen. Some have also done a great job of promoting goodwill to help frontline workers with free meals. These acts of kindness have helped their clients a lot. Some of our restaurant customers have used public relations during the pandemic to offer advice or cooking recipes – however they can stay in touch with their customers. Or they offered expertise on eating habits during the pandemic. The idea was that they became a resource that the media wanted to transform to get information while also mentioning their restaurant’s name on air or in print / online. It has become a win-win for everyone. “
Use influencers and reviews to your advantage
When it comes to advertising and PR, there’s nothing like a 5-star review posted on social media by a local influencer. So where to start ? Compose a list of these essential influencers and local restaurant critics, whom you can invite to your restaurant for a special “influencer night”. Influencers love to be drunk, dined and recognized. This event gives you the chance to make sure they receive impeccable service, an exclusive interior look and tasty food. In return, your restaurant will eventually become a social media trend, catching the much-coveted attention of potential customers.
Public relations build trust and success
It should be clear that there are many ways to use public relations and social media to build trust and attract loyal customers. Credibility, authenticity and creativity are essential to the survival and future success of the restaurant industry. Using public relations strategies to keep your restaurant’s name in the media will set you apart from the regular, mundane pace of traditional advertising.