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5 Tips for Restaurants and the Press

Chances are, your restaurant doesn't have a media relations person. Large or small, there are so many players needed to make a restaurant run successfully; and even the most popular spots probably aren't making the news often enough to justify a full-time communcations employee. Generally, when a space is featured in the news or on television, the press wants to talk to the chef or the owner, and if nothing else, a manager will suffice.

But just because you don't have a media professional on your restaurant team doesn't mean that you can't handle the media professionally. Our restaurant consultants and social media teams have put together a list of five tips for promoting your restaurant with the press.

1. Make sure it's real news. When your restaurant is doing well, everything seems newsorthy to you. But stop to consider who else will find your news exciting. Feature pieces that get picked up in the news have to be pretty outstanding; and even working with a more specific publication still requires a story angle. If you cry "wolf" to the press, you'll make a bad impression right away. Save the little things for your team and family, and jump when you have something major to share.

2. Create a media list. When it comes time to share your news, it helps to already know who to go to. The news world moves quickly, and you don't want to waste time trying to track down reporters and publications. Put in the effort now. Create a list of major papers, television stations, and magazines in your area. Which ones focus on your neighborhood or lifestyle pieces? Are there specific food shows or guides that you should know about? Get as specific as possible--research names and email addresses or phone numbers for those writers. Keep it all in an easy-to-use spreadsheet for quick reference when you've got news to share.

3. There is a wrong way to write a press release. Public relations professionals are actually trained in the art of journalistic writing to save reporters time and effort. How you write your press releases--the style, the grammar, the punctuation--can certainly effect whether or not it is picked up for print. Be considerate of journalists and editors alike and remove the work of having to rewrite your news. The PR Styleguide and AP Stylebook are great references to have on hand (and probably on the desk of every communications professional out there).

4. Be prepared. So the news wants to talk to you! Exciting. Are you prepared? It's a good idea to know the blanket statements and facts about your restaurant and always have them ready to go. But to better prepare yourself for an interview, ask for a list of questions up front. Generally a reporter can at least give you a basic idea of what the questions will be. Some will even let you submit the questions yourself. Once you know, practice!

5. Keep a record. Press is great in the moment; but it's also a good thing to have cataloged. Sometimes you can use a previous story to incite a new one. And it builds your clout when you can show where and how you've been featured.

If you would like to know more about managing a relationship between your restaurant and the press, contact our restaurant consultants today.