The food and beverage industry and public relations go together like peanut butter and jelly. Whether you’re trying to get a new wine brand off the ground or rejuvenating the image of an established gourmet restaurant, targeted communications in food industry public relations campaigns can create excitement about product launches, help you break into new markets, avert negative attention, solidify your brand’s story, and accomplish a whole host of other goals.

The importance of food brand PR and the diversity of its forms has never been greater than in 2021. With the projected growth of the industry, the various social media channels PR can flow through today, and the amount of digital information consumed per day by the average person, opportunity is absolutely everywhere. Nonetheless, you may not have encountered these ideas before; you may be out there wondering, “What is food PR? Why should I make it part of my business?” Allow us to break down these broad questions into some tasty slider-sized answers for you.

What Is Public Relations For the Food and Beverage Industry?

Food and beverage PR is nothing more complicated than the use of strategic communication in the food and beverage industry. That strategic communication might manifest as a press release, a series of posts across various social media channels, a recommendation from a social media influencer, a traditional ad, or a broadcast media news story featuring your business.

The goal of a PR campaign is to get a message — in this context, probably “buy X food” or “drink X beverage” — to the audience that will best receive and act on that message. Food and drink PR can approach this one goal from many angles. Maybe your brand would best be served by a campaign that appeals to prestige, for example if you operate a high-end restaurant. Maybe your brand is less upscale but has enough history with consumers that you can go after people’s nostalgia (for reference, see just about any Coca-Cola ad aired within, like, eight months of Christmas). The only limit on effective PR is your own imagination; it is a multifarious way to connect with patrons and business partners alike.

Consumers today, whether consciously or not, would likely regard the absence of PR material from a company as a bad sign, if they were even aware of the company’s existence to begin with. With almost all businesses making efforts to show themselves as likable, trustworthy, elite, or worthy of business for some other reason, your silence could be deafening.

Also, the food and beverage industry often falls victim to the kind of misfortunes that make a crisis communication plan imperative for any successful business. If your brand suffers a blow to its reputation, a quick, skillful bit of food & drink PR could mitigate much of the damage that might otherwise result. Remember the Wendy’s finger-in-the-chili hoax? A customer tried to extort money from the fast-food chain by claiming to have found a severed human finger in her chili. The allegation was false; nevertheless, Wendy’s lost an estimated 21 million dollars in the fallout from the incident. Imagine how much worse it might have been if they didn’t have PR help!

Food Industry Public Relations vs Advertising: What’s the Difference?

Advertising and public relations both have their place and purposes within the food and beverage industry. While advertising in the restaurant business focuses on showcasing the brand through paid avenues, food and beverage public relations campaigns offer the chance to build a relationship with your target audience and manage your brand image holistically.

It is also well-known that restaurant advertising typically ends up being significantly more costly than public relations for restaurants. A well-thought out public relations plan should take time, and result in greater brand awareness and an overall positive impact on the target audience.

An agency seasoned in food industry public relations will have a deep understanding of the industry and the best way to tell your brand story in a way that the target audience will understand and trust. While a short-term advertising campaign may yield some desired results, it might not result in the same long-term benefits. Keeping your restaurant at the top of peoples’ minds over an extended period can help you break through the noise and establish brand loyalty.

Top Marketing Channels for Food & Bev Public Relations

Using PR communications in food and beverage campaigns to build your brand can, and probably should, involve multiple prongs and multiple forms of expression. Unless your goals for your food brand PR campaign are very narrow, diversifying your message across platforms will probably net you better results than a unidirectional approach. Moreover, in terms of better SEO rankings, new customers, and increased revenue, a unidirectional approach will likely take longer than an approach with multiple prongs does to get you the same bump. There are of course any number of ways to get a message out to the public, and no two businesses or instances of food public relations are identical, but in general we would say the following areas are good places to put your energy:

Earned Media

If you can get someone other than you talking about your business in a good way, it goes further than highlighting the business’s strengths yourself. This is the basic idea of earned media, which in comparison to traditional ads raises fewer alarms with jaded consumers unimpressed by companies’ displays of self-interest. As an example, personal recommendations mean a lot to people when choosing a business to patronize, and online reviews are almost as good. Take some time to think about how you can cultivate third-party involvement in your food PR efforts, and you’ll be happy you did.

Social Media

Any micro-influencers (people with between 10,000 and 50,000 followers on a given social media channel) you can think of who might be game for a partnership? These kinds of arrangements are a thriving marketing tactic, one worth adding to your strategic communication in the food and beverage sector.

Also, you can dial up the flair on your own social media accounts! We’re really singling out Wendy’s in this article, but have you checked Wendy’s Twitter account lately? It’s a lot of fun, and a case study in developing your brand voice through the platforms we all frequent every day.

Broadcast Media

Pitching stories to reporters in broadcast news agencies is a tried-and-true method for PR of all kinds, including food and beverage public relations. Think about what topics and issues the reporter’s audience would want to hear about, and connect that idea to an achievement, event, product launch, or promotion that concerns your business. Shaping your pitch this way gives you a better chance of earning a spot in their coverage.

Newsjacking

The right hashtag on the right social media channel at the right time can be solid gold. If there’s a story in the digital media spotlight with some relevance to what your company’s doing, put out a piece of PR that will funnel search traffic from the primary story to you, and you’ll capitalize on a wave of short-term enthusiasm, raising your brand’s visibility significantly, if only for a few days. Communication in food and beverage campaigns is just as much about timing as about tone.

Consult with Food Industry Public Relations Experts

All-in-all, food and beverage public relations is more than just fluff; it’s a long term plan to build relationships and break through the noise in the food and beverage industry. An experienced agency with years of knowledge within the industry can help build a brand and result in long-term success.

Are you ready to embark on a food and beverage public relations adventure of your own? We’re here and ready to help–reach out any time.

FAQs About Food Industry Public Relations

What is public relations in the industry?

Public relations for restaurants is a strategic process of communicating a food industry brand’s story in a way that results in a mutually beneficial relationship with your target audience.

What are the 4 P’s of public relations?

  1. Protect: Food industry public relations can not only help you build a positive reputation, but perhaps even more importantly can help protect it in the long-term.
  2. Promote: Whether it’s a product launch, a grand opening, or any number of newsworthy events, it is the role of your public relations professional to find a way to hook the media and get your target audience to care.
  3. Perform: Public relations for restaurants and other food and beverage businesses needs to be able to operate alongside day-to-day operations as well as social media, digital marketing, and any number of additional avenues.
  4. Prove: At the end of the day, only you can decide what success looks like for your business. Your food and beverage PR professional should be able to interpret that success and find the best way to help your business achieve it.

Following the 4 P’s can spur every campaign to success.

Who needs PR services?

Everyone can benefit from a targeted public relations campaign. Especially within small businesses in the restaurant business, public relations is the best way to build a relationship with your target audience, generate demand, and grow awareness.

What is the scope of PR?

Public relations aims to build, manage, and maintain a positive image and relationship with the public and your business. The professionals that manage your public relations will ensure that the reputation you build is a positive one, whether that’s through press releases, media campaigns, or other methods that fit your goals.