PR Tips for New Restaurants, Food Trucks and Coffee Shops
If I am being totally honest, restaurants are my absolute favorite kind of client to work with. Why? Because who doesn’t love food?!
And I’m not just talking about my personal love of food here, the media always seems to get excited when a new restaurant is coming to town. Plus, it is usually really easy to find and reach out to the dedicated food writer at each publication.
I know this because I have worked with a lot of food-based businesses. I’ve worked with national chains where I did all the media for a new location, and I’ve also worked with small mom and pop businesses.
Usually, the biggest difference between PR for a national chain and mom and pop shop is budget. But listen, even if your budget isn’t big, you can still get awesome results because the media is *hungry* to hear about you.
It’s really a matter of how much time you have to dedicate to PR. If you can spend a few thousand dollars to keep a PR firm on retainer, do it, and use your time for other things.
But if you are working on a tight budget, a little elbow grease can get your new restaurant, food truck, or coffee shop the media attention it deserves even without a publicist.
Everyone loves food and will be interested to hear about your new place
Most publications have a food writer with a readily available email address
You see, that’s the magic of it. All you really need to do is email local food writers with the information they are looking for in a time frame that makes sense. I recently did a webinar all about this. You can get the whole recording here.
And if you don’t have time to wait, I have a few pitch ideas you can send out before you open your doors for business. Try them out!
(Oh, I should also mention, I have a PR kit for restaurants, food trucks, and coffee shops that costs WAY LESS than hiring a publicist. Okay, back to the three pitches I have for you today!)
1. Things are Getting Real… the Lease is Signed!
When I work with restaurants, the first thing I do is send out a pitch when the lease is signed. “The Lease is Signed” pitch is good for starting a bit of buzz as early as possible. You can be in talks forever, but until you have that lease, it’s not very real to the media.
Target your local food writers, but don’t limit yourself. Another section I have had a lot of success with is real estate. See if there are any columns about businesses that are coming soon and pitch those people too.
2. This is All About Our Community: Partnerships
Another way to generate early buzz is talking about partnerships. As you create the restaurant of your dreams, let the media know about it.
Are you teaming up with a local architect?
How about an interior designer?
Will you food come from local farms?
Local media wants to cover local news, so the more you can “keep it local” the more you are posed to get local media attention.
3. Our Doors Are Open, You’re Invited
The last pre-launch pitch I recommend is to tell the media when you will open. Better yet, invite them to come in for a complimentary meal.
However, be cautious with this. I have worked with a lot of new businesses, and in my experience, things always come up. Let me repeat that: always. It may not even be your fault, but if construction is taking longer than usual, the media won’t know the difference between you and your contractor.
The danger is telling the media you will be ready by a specific date, and then totally blowing past it. You already know how unprofessional this looks, so I don’t need to emphasize it. (But I could.) Just be sure that when you send out announcements, it’s really going to be open and ready to go.
Expect that some writers may take you up on a complimentary meal, but others may come in unannounced and pay for their own meal to get a more neutral experience. As long as you have something good to offer and friendly service, you’re sure to be a hit.
I believe in you.
If you read this and still have questions…
I always have private workshops available for those who want to learn (a lot) more about DIY PR.
And if you want more DIY PR resources, I recommend checking out my shop!
Remember, you don’t have to spend big bucks to get big media. As long as you deserve media attention, you just have to let them know about it.