Cover Story: Is PR the secret ingredient to restaurants' success?
With fierce competition, marketing has become even more important for restaurants — from managing online reviews to crafting a consistent message across social media platforms. Get marketing wrong, and it can be the end for a restaurant.
“I think it’s one of the reasons that even some really great hospitality programs don’t succeed — because consumers don’t get the brand. They don’t get the message,” said Helen Gregory, a founding partner of Gregory+Vine, a New York-based branding and strategic communications agency that has a Kansas City office.
One common mistake is not starting a communications plan far enough in advance. Ideally, restaurants should start crafting a messaging strategy at least four to six months before opening. Not only does it create a clear brand for consumers, it helps employees throughout the organization deliver on-point messaging.
“Relaunching and reimagining a brand is more difficult than launching it correctly to begin with,” Gregory said. “Like anything, if you have a long runway, you have a stronger chance of nailing that landing.”
Another stumbling block is delivering brand messaging across social media platforms, marketing materials and a restaurant’s website. And it must be consistent, she said.
“It’s really important that restaurants be aware of marketing and appoint somebody on their team to be responsible for ensuring there’s full integration of every channel and that they’re taking advantage of every opportunity,” Gregory said.
However, restaurants don’t need to be on every social media platform, she said. They should choose the ones that make the most sense for the business and the ones that realistically can be updated regularly.