Bring in all the customers you could ever dream of and really stand out from the crowd
Many of the most memorable ‘eating out’ experiences are the ones filled with good food, good wine and good conversation. Fact is, dining out is often as much about creating the scene, making great first impressions and getting noticed as it is about the food. For the thousands of cafes, bars, bistros, pubs, gastro pubs and restaurants throughout the whole of the UK driving in starving customers is nothing less than hard work. But should it have to be?
At Pressat, Manchester, we are experienced and passionate about all things PR and are confident we can make you a ‘hit’ with visitors and locals alike. In the face of increased competition, the most effective strategy is to differentiate your establishment from the others and create excitement in a way that reinforces your positioning strategy.
Trust us, as PR experts we know firsthand how a well devised PR plan can give any organisation a crucial, competitive advantage and are happy to share our views on how you can help promote your business through hard work, dedication and a little innovation.
Pressat’s proven PR tips for a winning campaign:
Even if you want to be an overnight sensation in the food and drink industry and feature in the relevant publications, the fastest you’re going to get there (even if they fell in love with you today) is three to six months, realistically.
Why? Yes, a good question.
Because magazines run off editorial calendars and plan and write their stories months in advance. This means that you have to be sure you are in those stories that you fit into.
How do you do this? Simple.
Research every outlet that you would like to appear in and find their free editorial calendars. Create a pitch and then call the magazines and departments or search for them online via their media kits. It means being organised but all your hard work could soon pay off. Watch this space!
Network and Reach Out
The quote ‘the more people you know, the luckier you are’ really does ring true in the PR world. Sure you have to know more and more media contacts, but networking with other business owners and entrepreneurs, both large and small, will lead you to people you need to know to get you to where you want to be!
- Make friends with fellow net workers.
- Hand out your business cards.
- Follow people you met on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook
Make yourself a resource
Pick up the telephone and invite editors and columnists for lunch and drinks at your restaurant and offer yourself as a ‘resource’. Make them want to keep coming back for more until they want to write about you. Feed them with interesting ideas and stories to inspire and make yourself an expert in your field but show your personality and keep things brand appropriate.
Build networks with other eateries
Be sincere and get to know people in your niche as they will be the ones to help you. What you are aiming for is that your company’s name is on the tip of everybody’s tongue but make sure you are honest and show gratitude when people help you and return the favour by helping others too.
Don’t see your competitors as threats when it comes to making connections. Often reporters want more than one story and if you talk with other people in the same industry as you, even competitors, you can agree to refer each other whenever media coverage comes calling.
- Make friends with other local businesses, referrals can bring in lots of extra custom.
- Take part in niche business meetings with fellow eateries.
- The meetup.com website is good for this http://www.meetup.com/
Ensure your website appeals to your target audience
Make sure your website is as up to date and relevant as possible. Avoid unappetizing photography- make sure you spend time and invest in your website’s photography with high quality images that will have people salivating at their computer screens and rushing to book a table. Think of M&S and how they raise people’s expectations for how food should look- if it works for them, it could work for you!
Also, don’t forget the most important part- your website’s content. Regardless of how good your website looks, if you forget to put on the information your visitors are looking for, your website is theoretically pointless. Include crucial information, such as cuisine information, up to date opening times and contact details. Lastly, use Foursquare or Google Maps and get yourself seen; geo-location is essential if people are to find you!
- Consider submitted to dedicated food & drink press release websites for online exposure.
Use social media to promote your establishment
Of course, nowadays, the Internet and social media sites such as Facebook and twitter are vital to public relations, particularly if your target market is a younger one. Consider posting online, the best quotes and tweets onto your website and also put them up in the bar or ordering area so customers can see them- visual cues help returning customers and positive comments are always nice to read.
Why not get staff to ‘tweet’ while on shift? Chefs could post recipes, ingredient information, photographs and even food diaries to entice people in and create a friendly and creative atmosphere.
Encourage customers to take photographs and ask them to ‘tag’ you in their pictures or tweet and talk about you online, by offering free Wi-Fi. Also, by doing this you will encourage more people into your establishment as many now work remotely through the internet, preferring the ambiance of being around people and away from their hotel room or home environment.
Finally, consider promoting your business on Linkedin; a social network for serious professionals and business people. Creating a profile and connecting with regular customers can help to build exposure in your local business community. If you have a guest database with email addresses, consider uploading it to LinkedIn to identify existing LinkedIn users and connect with them. By promoting yourself online in a business setting, where networking happens every day, you are much more likely to attract business lunches and after work dinners.
Do something truly original
Tasting is believing: try Sampling. You may think your food is exquisite but has anybody actually graded it for you? Focus on approaching members of the public, rather than paying customers and either display a stand outside of your establishment or to go to every public event that draws in your core audience.
Select two to three key dishes on your media that can be transported easily and get some of your most enthusiastic and reliable staff out to meet and greet people. This technique is one of the best methods to build recognition and is less expensive and can be more effective than standard advertising.
Three courses in three locations: your very own Dinner Date
Why not organise a monthly event where three establishments offer one course each? It would begin with a starter in the first eatery, main course in the next and dessert in the last establishment.
By hosting an event such as this allows you to leverage the reputation, profile and credibility of not just your business, but all of the other establishments involved and provides you all with that added edge with gathering local publicity.
Create a unique ‘Taste Team’
Consider inviting members of the public and real foodies to create a ‘Taste Team’.
Think ‘BBC’s Good Food’ magazine cross with the TV show ‘Come dine with me’ and you are there! This will allow you to create a collective group of people, all with the same interest; eating great food and reviewing it. What’s more, it is likely to be a giggle and provides people with a chance to socialise with new people, network and talk about YOU.
A winning combination, surely?
Be brave: invite Bloggers to review
Go one step further and invite a group of bloggers to your establishment to see what you are all about, encouraging them to blog about you and your business. If you have a special and delicious dish or are confident that you serve the best roast around, inviting food bloggers for food and drinks can enable you to reach hundreds or thousands of the bloggers reader’s and boost your establishment’s marketing.
- Great tool to find bloggers http://technorati.com/
Mix food with fine art
Displaying art really can be a win-win situation, both for your establishment and local artists. You can make your restaurant fresh and exciting and create an added talking point for your guests. You could even consider moving away some tables to convert your establishment into a viewing gallery at quiet times, with wine or tea and a piece of cake to accompany each viewing. By supporting and promoting local artists, it is likely you will also enhance your links within your local community and attract an up market audience with a passion for the finer things in life (and the money to pay for it!!).
Make dining more attractive; do something innovative
Why not be wacky and chose your slowest food days and flip a coin for the food bill. A 50% chance of getting your food bill paid will be sure to encourage diners in. Just as much as this, the offer will grab their attention much more than a buy one get one free offer.
Not keen on this idea? Maybe you could offer one lucky diner the chance to eat for free, pulling a name out of a hat after they have eaten their courses. Guests are much more likely to purchase more food from you if there is a chance they will not have to pay and more importantly, this will create an enormous attention among your core guest base.
Loyalty cards; a smarter solution to discounting
Instead of discounting, consider offering a loyalty card on your website and entice customers back with a steady flow of offers, recipes and insights into your restaurant or eatery. This could be as simple as a card which you stamp after every meal and then offer a half price meal after earning a certain amount of stamps. Offer marketing gold by sending your chef round to your most loyal customer’s home to cook a special meal as a reward for racking up numerous points. If this happens, take lots of photographs and publicize the fact in the local press and also online through your own blog, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to show how your business looks after its most loyal customers.
Become a local sponsor
To get your name known by more people, it may be appropriate to employ another PR tactic – sponsorship. Get as much exposure as possible by having your name emblazoned on the shirts of youngsters in a local football or sports team or sponsor (in full or part) an event such as a cycle ride, a food fayre, a local fete or a children’s teddy bear picnic in a nearby park.
Local schools are also a great place to advertise your establishment; there are always opportunities to get the community involved. Invite children to come and make pizza or something else simple yet creative, volunteer to do cookery demos or cook and let the children learn about healthy eating- these are always something local newspapers will report on and they also increase people’s awareness of you. What have you got to lose?
Give people what they want: commit to ‘going green’
In today’s day and age there is much more of a focus on helping the environment and this decision to going ‘green’ will be really important to many eco-conscious people and families. In light of this, try and develop a menu offering several vegetarian, all organic or all-local dishes or beverages so there is a range of choice. Either display them or a special menu or use a special symbol to mark the choices so it is explicitly clear and so it informs customers about the food or drink’s ‘green’ qualities and the why the price reflects this.
Follow Up, Don’t Give Up
Don’t forget; running your own PR campaign can be very exhausting- that’s the truth. Sometimes the hardest thing about PR is feeling like you want to give up- but even when you are frustrated, don’t! If anything, re-evaluate your campaign plan, your courses, your decor and internal arrangements, your suppliers and who you are reaching out to (as well as how you are pitching to them)- maybe the time is now to make some changes for the better?
Create a schedule so you know what you are working on every day, and you feel like you are making progress, however small the steps are. Based on experience, when the right message is delivered at the right time, the success happens more much more quickly. Just be creative, think outside of the box and remain positive and enthusiastic!
Remember, making your establishment stand out from the crowd is a difficult task but differentiation and exciting tactics like the ones described above can be particularly potent for your establishment. Opportunities for smart marketing are everywhere; by implementing such strategies you will hopefully reap the rewards, just as other successful establishments are around the country.
If you want to undertake your own PR campaign but feel advice from the experts would be helpful, contact Pressat today to discover how we can help you to help yourself.
If you would rather we take hold of the reigns and kick start your PR campaign for you – wait no more. Pressat offers the the full range of bespoke marketing solutions for our clients; be it sustained campaigns or individually-tailored projects, implementing both traditional and digital marketing techniques.
Our activities include creating brand identities for clients, planning and executing advertising and direct mail campaigns, press releases, email newsletters, social media updates and organising and running major events and other promotional activities – both online and offline.
Whatever your requirements, we will consider the full marketing mix and devise a campaign that will deliver results. Our clients tell us that our outstanding contacts, attention to detail and our ability to get results are what make us stand out from the rest.
So, why wait? Leverage the power of Pressat and help your business stand out from the crowd.