Once you’ve built a beautiful restaurant, sourced the best product, and hired a talented staff, it’s finally time to spread the word of your establishment. AllDay recommends engaging a public relations firm to ensure that your restaurant has the proper buzz that will fill seats on opening day.
We chatted with Denise Psyhogios, Senior Account Executive at Bullfrog + Baum, one of New York’s premier hospitality public relations firms.
AllDay: What is the difference between marketing and PR?
Denise: Public relations falls under the larger umbrella of marketing. Marketing is more sales driven, while public relations supports marketing efforts by taking the information, creating a unified message and campaign, and subsequently getting the word out to the public (which, ideally, also drives sales). Some believe that marketing is a more direct route to the end user while PR relies on “third party” channels to ultimately land your message in the user’s lap. In an ideal world, PR and marketing work hand in hand.
For example – let’s say that a restaurant wants to drive business between the hours of 4PM and 7PM. Your marketing team would create a fun event or offer available during those hours and would then create related and on-brand collateral to support these efforts. They would push this information out directly to the consumer (which sometimes may include a spend) with the ultimate goal of increasing revenue during this timeframe. Your PR team will take this promotion and amplify its reach by pushing the news out to the public through media (traditional and digital), social media, or by hosting an event for those who will then share the news.
AllDay: When should a restaurant engage a PR firm?
Denise: There’s no definitive answer on WHEN a restaurant should engage a PR firm – but more so, WHY a restaurant should engage a PR firm. Each restaurant/restaurateur has specific goals that they are trying to reach – and there are different strategies you can implement to reach those goals. The truth is that sometimes PR may not be the best direction for you. There are many factors that play into this decision so each situation is unique.
That said, for those who are looking to be part of the “culinary conversation,” PR can definitely help. The restaurant industry is a very saturated market. With so much activity – openings, closings, events, new chefs, old chefs – happening so quickly, it’s difficult to get the attention you deserve. Each restaurant is different with unique stories to tell and interesting and diverse ways in which to tell these stories. A good publicist will find your story and know how to tell it and who to tell it to. This is not a cookie-cutter program. Each restaurant should be treated as an individual–this is why PR is more important now than it’s been in the past. A good PR practitioner will work with you and your budget to create the best program for your project.
AllDay: What should a restaurant look for in a PR firm?
Denise: Most simply, an agency and a client need to mesh. One way to see if you will mesh with your agency is to engage in a smaller project or a short-term project. One example is Bullfrog + Baum’s Leap program. In 45 days, we will effectively and strategically promote a restaurant or initiative to media and influencers in the metropolitan New York area. We create a budget-friendly Leap that encompasses media relations, social and consumer engagement to build brand awareness. Leap is a great way to test the waters for a new restaurant who is exploring PR for the first time; many of our Leap clients have never had PR before.
For long term clients, it should be a synergetic relationship – the restaurant needs to be able to communicate the inner workings and happenings so that PR can push news out. But, all PR firms and PR practitioners need to know what’s going on in the world – even beyond the specific industry your client is in. In PR, there’s always a story to tell – even if it’s not new. It’s also about working with what you have and making it newsworthy (whether that’s tying the client to recent news, trends, pop culture, business, etc.).
AllDay: Can one do PR themselves? What are the benefits of hiring a PR firm?
Denise: The relationships! PR practitioners are creative, forward-thinking, organized – but our relationships with the media, with influencers, with brands – that’s what makes us successful. We are in tune with these people. We follow their work, we know their professional beats, their styles of writing or posting, their personal interests (and probably where they live too…). We also have relationships with outside sources like venues, DJs, artists, musicians, photographers, brands, and more – all of which can be very important to a PR campaign.
The other major benefit of hiring a PR firm is time related. While you can do PR on your own and with enough experience, restaurateurs and operators rarely have the time to dedicate to these efforts (and often times they don’t have the personnel in-house to devote time, either). Having a publicist, or a PR team, can really alleviate that burden.
AllDay Industry has the experience and the network to help you develop your concept from any stage of development. From finding the perfect space, hiring the right executive chef, or promoting your restaurant, our team will act as your primary consultant connect you to some of the best talent in the hospitality industry. Contact us at 212.346.0606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Denise Psyhogios and Bullfrog + Baum, check out www.bullfrogandbaum.com.