October 7, 2014 |

Represent!

By Denise Greer


press coverageWho speaks for your pizzeria? For most, it’s an owner, general manager or chef/kitchen manager. And for some, it’s a public relations rep or publicist. At Pizza Today, we hear from a lot of PR folks, pitching stories about pizzerias they represent and working with us on specific articles.

Today, I made contact with a restaurant rep after reading several references to national recognition for its pizza. I’ll refrain from divulging the business’s name. But, I received a perplexing short reply:

“Xxxxx is not a pizzeria and I want to be clear about that.  Thanks.”

The unnamed restaurant’s Web site text, images and its origin story (as well as the press articles it promoted on its site) all sounded like a “pizzeria.” It left me wondering, “is this restaurant ‘too good’ for its bread-and-butter — pizza? Or, is this a publicist wanting to drive the restaurant’s reputation in another direction?”

Whichever the case, the whole thing was very confusing. Communicating who you are and what you do should never be confusing to your audience or the media that reaches them. Be sure that your messages on all platforms are clear and don’t contradict each other.

The voice of your pizzeria is a vital role. Choose the person wisely. You want a charismatic person to be your restaurant’s public face. Your pizzeria’s spokesperson or media representative should be able to clearly state the following about the operation:

  • An accurate description of your concept and operational information
  • Its origin and history
  • Company’s philosophy and core values
  • Elements of the restaurant that make it stand out
  • Vibrant detail of your menu and its unique offerings

The spokesperson should also know some dos and don’ts. For example:

  • Don’t go “off the record.” It doesn’t exist. Everything you say to a media pro is on the record.
  • Never disparage the competition
  • Stay positive and enthusiastic
  • Prepare for media interviews and take notes on key messages to get across
  • Avoid industry jargon
  • Don’t give a sales pitch. Instead, share your story.

When responding to a crisis situation, it’s a whole other ball game. Here’s what the Public Relations Society of America has to say: Preparing leaders to communicate during a crisis.