Posts Tagged ‘DC Restaurant’

Restaurant PR 101: Know Your City!

October 20th, 2010

In seeking business publicity, restaurant owners can get decent traction in announcing a new opening or similar event.  Sometimes, though, owners want restaurant public relations to go to the next step – national exposure.  Instead of going the boring old route, a simple solution lies in understanding your city.

In Washington, where Praecere is based, the biggest thing we’ve got going here is election day.  Happens like clockwork, every two years, trust us!  When it comes to capitalizing on outside events, nothing beats predictability.  If you know when a big media field day is coming up, then you have ample time to prepare for riding the publicity coattails.

For example, one way to craft a relevant pitch is to tap into the fervor and national attention focused on elections.  This is all about offering the media something interesting, a cool story that goes beyond simple tweaks to your restaurant.  It’s one thing to add excitement to your menu, but the better talking point is why those changes were made – that’s what gets the media interested.

In this case, launching a restaurant promotion that reflects on politics – i.e., naming dishes and drinks after political parties, and then keeping a public tally on which items are selling the most – is excellent fodder for media restaurant pitches.  Close your eyes and picture 24/7 news channels, starved for content (“… Jill, I’m standing here at Good Dish Eatery in downtown DC, where two days away from election day the restaurant has gained fans with its politically-themed dishes.  If the election were based on which dish was most popular, then XYZ party has clearly won the vote…”)

You can see how this plays out, and why such publicity would benefit the hypothetical restaurant.  Dare to be creative and aggressive with restaurant public relations, and embrace strategies that go beyond the meat-and-potatoes of restaurant publicity.  Bon appétit!

Restaurant PR 101: Publicity Beyond “We’re Open for Business”

October 5th, 2010

As our office is in downtown Washington, we pay close attention to restaurant PR in DC.  The past few years have been good to the adventurous DC diner, with many great, eclectic restaurants opening in city neighborhoods such as 14th Street, H Street NE, and Columbia Heights.

As more DC restaurants set up shop and the market gets saturated, it becomes harder to make your restaurant stand out from the competition.  That’s where smart restaurant PR can help the business owner.  After all, how many times can you get the media excited about a new restaurant opening, a new chef, interior renovation, new menu, or other common happening?

Know the trends.  We’re still at a loss to understand the entire DC cupcake trend, but that being said, it doesn’t hurt to capitalize on new eating trends.  As the Washington Post recently pointed out, food from local gardens are all-the-rage in fine dining.  While the restaurant industry certainly has buzz around such trends, it’s worth the investment in an aggressive publicist who will track restaurant media trends and stories, and help their client take advantage of those that fit well with the business.

Multimedia.  So many restaurant websites are, well, static.  Beyond the menu, location, hours of operation, the sites usually fall flat.  How about adding a regular video series of the chef shopping?  The staff having fun?  Bartenders showing you how to make drinks?  What about a blog that discusses the city, the chef’s inspiration, how the menu came together?  Social media and affordable production tools allow these PR tactics to become a reality.

Find partners in publicity.  Many restaurants struggle with start-up resources, and no doubt would rather devote their funds to creating great menus.  Still, that doesn’t mean that restaurant PR shouldn’t be part of the budget.  Although it’s a myth that restaurants are overwhelmingly prone to failure, there’s nothing wrong with finding strategic partners to help generate publicity.  Area cooking schools, food banks, urban growth advocates, and even a bar next door are among a wide range of organizations that have common interests with restaurants.  By working together, more PR ideas can be realized and implemented.

Tease the diner.  Post a potential new restaurant recipe on Facebook, ask for feedback, see what people say.  You’ll certainly have an audience of fans and likes if you’ve followed the “multimedia” tactic above.  This is the greatest market to incubate a new dish and tweak the ingredients until it becomes a hit.  How about going even smaller, as in a creative recipe that’s crammed into a 140-character Tweet?  Mixologists could definitely shake drinks into a Twitter feed.

If you want to stand out, restaurant PR can give your business distinction amongst the masses, and get your eatery past the typical “we’re open for business” press release.