Make Your Restaurant a Local Media Darling

What if your restaurant received continuous press from local media outlets with little effort? What if reporters, bloggers and editors came to you with story ideas featuring your establishment? It sounds like a dream come true for restaurants striving to spread the word. How can you achieve it? Get local media to fall in love with your restaurant – become a media darling.

Here’s how you do it.

Understand the Media’s Perspective

Members of the media are often extremely overworked, overwhelmed and notoriously underpaid. Moreover, today’s media are under tremendous pressure to write more content than ever before and to deliver multiple stories for various mediums – online, print, social media. Often they’re doing this extra work in the same or less time! Remember this when you email or call.

Understanding this environment and the challenges your local reporters and influencers face will help you relate to them in a way that’s positive, impactful and mutually beneficial. Don’t ever waste their time – be succinct and get to the point. Send emails that are clear, direct, compelling, helpful, knowing, and showing.

Give them Real News

Understanding the media also means knowing what they’re looking for – news. It can be tough to be objective on what’s really news. News is not the launch of a new website. 

Here are few hard and fast rules. News is:

  • New – a new establishment, a new way of doing something, a new event, a new chef
  • Timely – meaning it’s happening now and that it’s relevant now
  • Tangible and real versus an idea or concept
  • Of interest to a broad audience – not just you and your family
  • Relevant to current events and trends – think along the lines of diet trends, trends in eating out versus eating in, related to a holiday like Bastille Day
Share Solid Stories and Photos

Telling a good story is the recipe for press success. When you’re reaching out to media with a story idea, be prepared with key details. For example:

  • About the chef
  • About your food – describe it! How does it taste? How is it being uniquely prepared?
  • Why it’s a good fit for the city/neighborhood
  • The benefit for the city/neighborhood (revitalization/real estate value/the food)

When telling a story about your restaurant, always think about “What’s in it for their readers.”

Good photos are another key element of a great story. Have a few solid shots of your restaurant and food, especially popular or notable dishes. Media often want to snap their own photos, but sharing a few helps create interest and will come in handy for a media person who might be too busy to take their own!

Get to Know Your Media

To really get to know the media in your local area, read what they write. Spend a few hours every month reading through local newspapers, magazines and blogs. Take notes about specific columns and ideas you have for writers. When the time is right, reach out with a friendly email or relevant pitch that features your restaurant.

Also, having one-to-one time facetime with top reporters, bloggers and editors is so valuable for building positive, long-term relationships. Consider hosting a special VIP tasting event for your next opening or when announcing a new menu. Hosting an event is a lot of work, but worth it because it improves the quality of media coverage and sets the stage for future positive reviews from food critics.

Follow the above tips, and local media contacts will see you as a professional, helpful, reliable source. And when a writer finds a source like this, they’ll come back to you.  A little work up front to introduce yourself in a meaningful way often means a writer will keep your establishment in mind for any and all future stories that are a good fit.