Dining has become one of the most common forms of
entertainment. People are dining out more than ever, and the
Internet is one of the biggest marketing tools out there. This
means a world of opportunities for restaurant marketing and public
relations in 2007. Here is a list of some of the newest tactics that
restaurants will be using this year.
1. Web and interactive marketing
the past few years, the use of Web and interactive marketing has
increased drastically. This trend is only going to keep growing in 2007
as restaurants take advantage of search engine optimization tools and
pay per click offerings. Blogging, Podcasts and YouTube video
posts are other popular Web marketing tools. Burger King’s popular
Subservient Chicken site was one of the first Web campaigns to prove
that interactive marketing can be successful for restaurants.
2. More viral campaigns
word-of-mouth campaigns, and ‘stories’ will be a big part of restaurant
public relations this year. When Starbucks sent a car around Washington
D.C. with a coffee cup stuck on the roof, it handed out $5 coupons to
“good Samaritans” who notified the driver. This campaign not only
created a buzz around town but also received plenty of media coverage,
both locally and nationally.
3. Increased PR budgets
advertising is becoming less effective for many smaller restaurants
because they can’t compete with the larger chains. As a result, many
will start dedicating more of their marketing mix budget toward public
relations, spending more than the old standard of 5%.
4. Larger-than-life PR events
Señor Frog’s debuted in the United States with the opening of its first
location in Myrtle Beach, it decided to memorialize the event by
creating the World’s Largest Pair of Underpants and earning a spot in
the Guinness Book of World Records. KFC recently created the world’s
largest logo – 87,500 square feet – becoming the first brand visible
from outer-space. You can expect to hear about more larger-than-life PR
events and stunts in the coming year, especially from large chains with
the budget to support it.
5. Environmental marketing
and branding are now being incorporated into every aspect of the dining
experience. Restaurants are looking for more ways to enforce their
brands and are doing so by building the marketing into the design and
baking it into the food. As a result, in 2007, more departments
(i.e. culinary and construction) will be reporting to the marketing
6. Niche marketing
Hispanics are the
fastest-growing minority group in the nation. In 2007 many restaurants
will be catering to this demographic by offering authentic Hispanic
menu choices, family-oriented promotions and Spanish-language
advertisements, in addition to targeting public relations efforts
toward Hispanic television and community newspapers.
7. Marketing to those who eat at home
families are looking for ways to eat together at the dinner table but
just don’t have the time to create a home-cooked meal. As a result,
restaurants will be catering to this segment by offering curbside
pickup, catering, delivery, meal-assembly services and other
time-saving home-meal replacement options.
8. Limited-time offers
Keep an eye out
for limited-time offers featuring bolder flavors and ethnic influences.
As the trend toward authentic and ethnic cuisine grows, many
restaurants will be experimenting with new menu items in 2007 and will
encourage guests to try them through limited-time offers and special
9. Product placements and co-op branding
the advent of TiVo and DVR, mass-media advertising is becoming less
effective for restaurants. As a result, many will try to maximize their
marketing dollars and exposure by partnering up with vendors with
larger budgets for co-op branding efforts. Another advertising route
for restaurants in 2007 will be product placements, such as the one for
Applebee’s in the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,
where the characters ate at the restaurant repeatedly. There was
even a full-length commercial incorporated into the middle of the movie.
10. Brands with more personality
humorous and irreverent will become words that guests use to describe
their favorite restaurants in 2007. As consumers look to dining as a
form of entertainment more and more, restaurants will strive to provide
an experience for guests, not just a meal. A restaurant’s personality
will play a big part of the overall dining experience, as well as help
establish its brand.