VSAG on Industry Watch: Winning PR & Marketing Tactics

We’ve all heard the old adage: Any PR is good PR. Well, not always – especially in our industry, where ‘PR’ doesn’t just mean relations with professional media, it’s actually working with the public to manage your brand, your business and your reputation. Bad press or negative word of mouth could do irreparable damage to your restaurant’s reputation. In today’s social media landscape, negative reviews and press can spread and damage your business faster than ever before.

Public Relations, defined by Merriam-Webster, is “The business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution.”

As a basic definition, that works. But, it’s truly the process of working directly with the media as trusted sources of news and information to get that information to everyone and anyone that will read it or absorb it.

For PR and aligned marketing tactics to be effective, we believe in transparency. We believe in offering guests a peak behind the curtain (i.e. revealing more than just a basic understanding of a business, but highlighting practices, mission, goals, etc.):

  • Have a plan for using public relations to your business advantage. Have a strategy, and an implementation plan, to be more precise. Who will be your spokesperson? Who will monitor your reputation? Who will be responsible for turning it around? What are the outlets/tools/resources to manage public relations? Think about budget and actual time spent to keep your brand in check.
  • Have clear, consistent branding. Your story is meant to be shared. It then, must be a clear, consistent message that is mindfully developed in-house. This message becomes the filter for which everything related to public relations and your brand should run through.
  • Talk to your guests & ask them to talk to you. Make sure you’re listening to and responding to guests in an open forum. Respond directly to guest feedback through emails and on your website. Train your servers to handle guest feedback in a professional, positive manner — and to seek help from a manager immediatley, should they need.
  • Make your team members Brand Ambassadors. From FOH to servers to bartenders, training your entire team to represent you and your brand, as effective Brand Ambassadors, is crucial to the guest experience, and ultimately your success.

Evidence of the effectiveness of our overall PR & Marketing strategies can be seen in the press, online reviews, and reputation your restaurant garners.