By Dafina Zymeri

How to know if the restaurant industry is the right niche for you?

Well, the definition of the word niche is “a situation or activity specially suited to a person’s interests, abilities, or nature”. Therefore, you can easily define the field you want to work on based on your interests, abilities and nature.

Do you go to restaurants just for the food, or for the experience? Do you pay attention to all the elements that make a good restaurant such as the hospitality, the background music, the coziness? Do you immediately check a restaurant social media presence to see if it reflects their quality and secretly wish you were their digital PR? Or perhaps your favorite restaurant has amazing food but no one really knows about it due to lack of PR.

If you answered Yes to some of these, then you might have just found your calling.

Also which are the most common roles within public relations you can overtake?

You can choose to be a publicist, PR specialist or a spokesperson if you’re into traditional PR based mostly on promoting their clients’ brands through press coverage. Alternatively, you can go the digital route of more online-based jobs such as being a digital PR, a copywriter or social media manager. Influencer marketing has really influenced the PR game in this industry, so if you want to be more up-to-date you could go for the latter ones.

Is there a need for PR in the restaurant industry?

Sure it might have the best restaurant in town, but what does it matter if people don’t know about it?

There are plenty of ways to promote a restaurant, but nothing compares to the power of public relations. PR is all about your restaurant’s image. If it’s done right, it will have a great impact on the business’ growth. Whether it is through media exposure or a strategic social media plan, PR will be the bridge between customers and the restaurant.

But what is PR done right? Here are some tactics a PR professional can use to grow a business in the restaurant industry:

1. Get creative in your PR plan

Whether the client is a museum, supermarket, realtor, or restaurant, a PR specialist has to conduct different strategies customized for the client. Get to know the client well first, then get to business in creating your PR plan. Remember to be creative.

2. Build a relationship with the media

The ultimate goal of PR is media exposure. Being spoken about in the media is especially powerful because it is seen as unbiased. The general public trusts the media to give honest feedback and recommendation about which restaurant is worth trying. Therefore, media visibility boosts your credibility!

Sure, you’ll let them know about your grand opening, but don’t leave it at that. One of your chefs has written a cookbook? Tell the media. You’re expanding or relocating? Tell the media. There can be plenty of stories worth telling, and since journalists are always on the lookout for new information, never hesitate to send out a press release every time something new is happening with the restaurant.

Learn that it’s not just food that generates headlines. Everything related to the restaurant does. Showing the “personality” of the restaurant will only attract more customers. Moreover, if your restaurant is special in any way, perhaps you have an all-woman team or a woman chef or have a Saturday special where you let needy people eat for free, why not talk about it?

3. Influencer marketing

Source: Instagram

Whether we like it or not, the PR landscape has changed. In some ways, PR has almost completely been replaced by bloggers and popular social media personalities which go by the name influencers. They have just as much (if not more) influence over people’s thinking (and purchases they make) as the old things PR used to revolve around, such as TV shows, commercials, and magazine articles. It is the age of social media after all, and every industry seems to be adapting to it.

Influencer marketing is the most effective way of creating awareness in the digital world. Having influencers visit your restaurant for a free-of-charge meal in exchange for an honest blog post, a review, or a social media mention is a great way to show them (and their followers) what you have to offer. If they are provided with a good experience, they will likely post on their social media platforms and encourage their audience to go try this nice restaurant they’re raging about themselves!

However, you need to be careful about two things before you do this:

  • Make sure you examine the influencers first to make sure your restaurant is appropriate for the influencer’s brand and fits their feed. Also, make sure you know who you’re targeting as future customers; the influencers’ followers should meet the demographic you are trying to reach.
  • Careful not to raise unreasonable expectations among your potential customers. When you collaborate with influencers, you become visible to a wide variety of customers. Sure, it’s great for them to hear nice things about the restaurant, but don’t get their hopes up too high so that they’ll potentially get disappointed afterward!

4. Take hashtags seriously

Turns out, using the right hashtags has greater importance than one would think. Especially for PR success in the restaurant industry, hashtags can be of great help given the fact that there is a day dedicated to practically every food and holiday.

Every day on Twitter and Instagram a new hashtag holiday is trending. So why not use them to your advantage? Keep up with the trend and utilize these hashtags for your client’s brand every time you see it appropriate. If it’s a pizza place, celebrate #NationalPizzaDay; if you’re known for your pancakes, don’t forget #NationalPancakeDay. Don’t miss out on your chance to lure customers to come grab a bite!

If you are passionate about making a change in the restaurant industry public-relations-wise, then you’re in the right place. It is a special field where you can find a creative outlet for it allows it to some degree. PR in the restaurant industry might have changed in recent times, but there certainly is still place for it since it is necessary as ever for getting the word out about how great a business is. With these tactics, a PR professional will not only grow a business but also help them stand out from the crowd.

  Dafina Zymeri is passionate about writing, research and personal development. She writes for a variety of travel, food and career blogs, including Kiwi.