Of all the major sectors of travel and tourism, restaurant PR requires some of the most specialized knowledge and language. This, and the fact that nearly half of all new restaurants fail in their first few years and the viability of a restaurant is heavily dependent on the critical reviews it receives, present unique highrisk challenges for the PR practitioner.
Fast-Food vs. Individual Restaurants
A key audience for chains such as McDonald’s is their respective communities. They communicate with their communities through sponsorships of local educational and recreational projects involving neighborhood youths and through participation in other local events. McDonald’s “Golden Arches” logo is recognized globally, as is their “spokesclown,” Ronald McDonald. One community relations effort that earns them extensive good will is their Ronald McDonald House program, which provides temporary lodging for the families of sick children who are being treated by area hospitals
Most of the fast-food chains have incorporated their proven PR and marketing techniques into standard operational procedure packages, which individual restaurant owners agree to implement when they purchase a franchise.
In contrast with these chains, individual restaurants must establish their own brand identities. They, too, put a high value on good community relations, but their PR focus is primarily on their dining audiences and food writers. Some of their key tools are B-roll, a Web site, menus, press releases and press kits, and participation in special events such as theme dinners, wine tastings, chef guest appearances, cooking classes, wine tastings, and food festivals
In the hotel sector, restaurants are often a necessary amenity— but they seldom are big revenue producers. Rarely will you find a hotel restaurant supported by a dedicated restaurant PR practitioner. Instead, an outside PR consultant or agency will most likely be employed.