ON POINT: The Restaurant Technology Blog

Restaurant POS and technology news, trends, best practices.

Restaurant POS and technology news, trends, best practices.
From the pizza POS experts at SpeedLine.


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3/30/2015 7:15 PM 





Posted By Carmen Vogel

US restaurants spent $1.087 billion in the first half of 2011 on advertising. Nearly every restaurant operator puts time and money into advertising and promotion campaigns to drive sales. Unfortunately, many operators neglect to pay the same attention to driving brand image, credibility, and reputation through PR. 

Getting noticed isn’t always easy. But under the publicity umbrella are thousands of tactics you can employ to drive revenue without relying solely on expensive advertising and promotion.  Where people feel bombarded by advertising, and they are likely to view what they read or hear in the news as more ‘credible’ than anything you can say in an advertisement.

Here are 5 ideas for attracting free media coverage for your restaurant business:

  1. Events and Publicity Stunts - Sending a press release about a grand opening or new menu item may result in a small write up in your local paper, but unless you’re very lucky, that alone won’t garner the kind of attention in your market that makes a noticeable, lasting difference in sales. Challenge your staff to come up with creative ideas for newsworthy events. Contests, giveaways, charity promotions, and co-promotions with other businesses can work well. Tapping into a local event or cause is always a great way to get coverage for your business—and build good will with your local market at the same time. Use Facebook and Twitter to announce events more broadly.
  2. Sampling – Tasting is believing and the best way to interest new customers in trying you out. Take advantage of local events and busy traffic areas for sampling—or have a sampling event in the restaurant. Schedule a media-only sampling night to build relationships with local media contacts and share your story. Or use media announcements to help invite new customers to try your restaurant. Give away free slices or desserts, and make up some of the cost in add-on sales. QSR Insights shares more sampling ideas in “Sampling is Not A Bad Word”.
  3. Romance local celebrities – PR is essentially making friends, relating to them and providing them with something they can benefit from. It’s a give and take relationship: By providing the local radio station with a surprise pizza delivery, you may score a free mention on air. And when you call to let them know about a newsworthy event, they'll know about your restaurant and be more inclined to spread the word.
  4. Invite the food editor – Invite the food/community/lifestyles editor of your local paper to join you for dinner at your restaurant—or to enjoy a personally catered dinner at the office. By sharing your personal insights on the local food industry and the story of your own business in casual conversation, you’ll give an influential media personality reasons to write about your restaurant or call on you for future stories.
  5. Seek opportunities to write your own news – Contact local media for a copy of their editorial calendar. This schedule of topics and special features planned for the calendar year may tip you off in advance of where you might be able to contribute. Pizza Today Magazine has a ‘My Turn’ feature, published both online and in print, that pizza operators may request to participate in. Many local publications also welcome article contributions from business people in the community.

Don’t forget to share the coverage you do get: post articles in the restaurant and on your website. Share links on Facebook and Twitter, or in an email newsletter.

Like all the marketing you do, consistency is the key to success with publicity. While you may garner quick and substantial exposure with an event or  publicity stunt, remember to also think long term.  The best brands are built with a long-term PR plan, not a short-term blitz.

What works best for you?

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Jennifer WiebeJennifer Wiebe

Executive Editor


Carmen McCombieCarmen Vogel

Managing Editor


 Lisa SiddonsLisa Siddons

Contributing Editor


Jay Daunheimer

Contributing Author




On Point is developed and maintained by SpeedLine Solutions Inc.