OpenTable partnered with Kristen Hawley, founder of the popular Chefs + Tech newsletter, to create the How to Grow & Thrive in the Restaurant Business e-book, the ultimate guide to serving guests and growing your business at every phase of a restaurant’s lifecycle. We’re sharing excerpts from each stage, so follow along and download the whole guide here.
Elizabeth Hamel of Wagstaff Worldwide‘s tips for capitalising on the big impact an opening will have in the media.
Sign on with PR early.
Agencies like to work with clients well before a restaurant opening—ideally, according to Hamel, at least three months in advance.
Don’t worry if your space isn’t finished. As soon as the chef knows at least a few dishes that will appear on the menu, make arrangements to photograph them. Use a different restaurant or kitchen space if necessary. It’s best to have images ready to go to share with press, says Hamel.
Talk social strategy.
Whether you’re hiring someone in-house, already have a staff member eager to help, or engage with an outside agency, social media strategy is a huge part of your larger PR strategy. If your social and PR are handled by different people, take time to make sure everyone is on the same page from the beginning: both
Get a splash page online immediately.
It’s OK if your website isn’t ready to go months before your opening—that’s normal. But prioritise a splash or landing page, a single page that lives at your website address listing at least your restaurant’s name. Hamel also likes to include links to any social channels you plan to use to this page.
Talk opening date.
Or at least opening season. When you do set an exact date, Hamel likes to announce it about a week before. This gives press a comfortable heads-up while giving you enough time and assurance that you’ll make that date.
Be clear about plans.
If you’re opening with dinner service but plan to launch brunch within the first year, share that information. There’s no substitute for opening press, but new service launches or big menu changes make great stories.
Want to know how to use social media, create tone, generate press, and measure success? Download the guide and visit page 11 – 21 for more.
Photo Courtesy of Alex Wrethman – Opening night of Charlotte’s W5