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Restaurant PR: Don't Wait, Get Out There and Get Noticed

By Miriam Silverberg

In my Delivering Food to the Media article I discussed garnering free publicity through delivering food to your local television weather person in honor of Television Weather Person's Day. But you don't have to wait for that or any other special day. Make your own.

One of your big desserts is a special ice cream dish. June 21st is the first day of summer; in honor of which set up a table outside and give away ice cream for an hour or so. You might even alert your newspaper so they can mention it in their calendar. Bastille Day? A French restaurant celebrates by giving away treats. If you're on a side street or you know someone in city hall (you'll need to get the street closed), you might consider a race with waiters carrying trays of wine! That's always good for photographs and crowds. A Mexican restaurant does the same thing on their national day of independence. Any ethnic place can. And don't forget American restaurants celebrating July 4th with special foods and contests. Our embassies in Europe always make a big event out of the 4th and you should, too.

If your restaurant has been in business for a really long time, on the anniversary of its opening, roll back the prices to what they were when it opened. A Manhattan steak house over 100 years old did that and they were mobbed. If there's a special day in honor of a charity, or a local hospital is having a fund-raising drive, contact the media that you are selling food and all the money raised will go to that charity.

Everybody complains about hospital food but no one does anything about it. Now you will. Contact your local hospital and offer to come to their kitchen and prepare a meal for the patients. Then contact the media and let them know what you're doing. Of course, when your local newspaper and television reporters descend upon you, do be nice and allow them to take photographs!

Do the same thing with a school. Adults always complain school cafeteria food is not nutritious and the kids complain they don't like the taste. Offer to prepare a lunch at your local grade, high school or college. The parents will love you for it and if you go to a college, you have a vast new audience of potential new customers. And never underestimate the amount of money college kids spend. Especially in bars and restaurants. Even if you're a fairly upscale place, plenty of college kids have disposable funds from mama and papa and are happy to spend it on dates.

This brings us to another point. Every college has a school newspaper. Contact them and ask them to send someone to review your restaurant. You know who the student is and you make sure he's thrilled. From personal experience I know that a good review in a school newspaper (and it's always a good review), acts like a magnet.


Miriam Silverberg is the founder and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a New York City publicity firm. She can be contacted by e-mail at silverbergm@mindspring.com

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