5 Strategies To Make The Most Of Your Restaurant (Re)Launch

The restaurant industry is an interesting animal. It’s one of the most riveting and communal industries to be a part of yet also one of the most challenging. Though we’re all a bit fatigued by reflecting on the pandemic’s impact, so many restaurant owners are still hurting from this unpredictable era. So where is the silver lining? Despite the challenges, the past few years have shown an impressive level of grit, community, and nimble course correction, with employees stepping up to the plate to cover shifts of sick colleagues and go above and beyond their pay grade to adapt to operational pivots.

As the industry has finally begun to experience the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s more important than ever to build a solid foundation in every area of your restaurant business, especially if you’re getting started from the ground up or launching a new concept.

With a refreshed mindset in 2022 and restaurant fans excited for the next big launch, it’s crucial for restauranteurs to hone in and sharpen their plans when it comes to openings. We’ve pared down our thoughts to five essential strategies that will ensure your launch is a success and builds the momentum needed to stay in the game.

1. Timing is Everything

The media is one of the most powerful resources for restaurant owners, and timing out your strategy is something worth overthinking. Whether you’re an established restauranteur or an industry newbie, you have to keep your local, regional, and national customer base informed. From the moment you sign the lease on your new space, that’s your first opportunity for press coverage that helps build anticipation. Engaging with a PR firm to map out a timeline is one of the best investments you can make. Depending on your restaurant and existing reputation, your team will analyze the best (and most realistic) outlets, as well as your viability for exclusives, which typically offer a greater quality of coverage, along with more clicks and shares. Building out the right media/influencer list and release timeline takes a huge piece of the puzzle off your plate, so you can focus on the dozens of moving parts involved with staffing, design, and finessing your menu.

2. Do overbudget on photography

As mentioned, the restaurant industry is tough… and it’s notorious for slim profit margins. However, if there’s one area of promotions where you should never pinch pennies, it’s photography. Your competition varies depending on your location, but great photography should always be viewed as a bare minimum investment no matter who you’re up against. Think about how much money was poured into fine-tuning your space, design, branding, and menu. Your business deserves visuals that do it justice. Round-up coverage and ‘Best of’ lists are just important as reviews in driving traffic, and media always prioritize great photography when it comes to picking out lead images for their content.

3. Extend Your Launch Timeframe

Like any great vacation or celebration, longer is usually better. Don’t feel constrained to hosting one event and calling it a day. Consider one or two “friends and family” nights to kick things off, using those as the training ground for new staff to work out any kinks with service and the kitchen. From there, take a day or two to soft launch, keeping things quiet while staff continues to gain their footing. Then, depending on the size of your city and your invite list, set aside one or two nights for your official launch. Have your PR team build a list of key media, influencers, and industry stakeholders, with RSVPs to ensure your staff is up-to-speed on who will be in attendance on which nights.

4. Go Big With Your Invite List

Look to your PR team to optimize your invite strategy, but don’t be afraid to go big with your list. If you need to spread things out over a full weekend, it’s better to have more big names in attendance than less, and offering them the chance at exclusivity will maximize the quality of coverage and word-of-mouth impact (since you’re still the newest spot on the block).

5. Rub Every Elbow In The Room

Launching a new concept is one of the best times to network. The story behind your restaurant is most well-received and anticipated by key industry players during the launch phase. Take the time to float around and chat with every table, thanking them for coming in and asking for any feedback. If your team is doing things right, those in attendance will make for great lasting relationships. An influencer who had an enjoyable time and connected with the owner is much more likely to return in the future, continue to promote your business (often at little to no expense) and invite their other influential friends. The same goes for media and potential investors down the line.


Ready to get started with your customized PR program? When we work together, your brand does more than show up. It shows up with a story, a purpose, a unique reason for being – and it makes an impact.

[email protected]

Gift Guides 101: When Should I Hire a PR Agency?

An Insider Take on Maximizing Your Brand’s Holiday Pitching Efforts

When it comes to product PR, it’s no secret that holiday gift guides are the holy grail for many brands looking for revenues to move into the black before the end of the year. Getting your brand featured in a coveted Gift Guide like the ones produced by Oprah, Good Housekeeping, and The Today Show puts your product, experience, or service directly in front of your target audience, and inclusions are also suggestive of the publication’s implied endorsement, i.e., the icing on the cake that sets you apart from competitors. 

Gift Guides: The Process

What industry outsiders don’t recognize outside of the end result of trending online listicles or glossy pages of a magazine is the time, preparation, strategic execution, and relationships that publicists nurture to secure that coveted spot. It’s so much more than simply meeting an editor’s deadline. 

If you’re considering hiring a PR agency to get your product, service, or experience into a holiday gift guide, you’ll want to keep the following in mind. 

Timing Is Everything

You’ll need to consider editorial deadlines, production timing for sample products, shipping deadlines, and the initial onboarding phase for your agency once you have selected one. 


Although a seasoned agency can quickly become familiar with your brand and product, sending out samples and getting samples in editors’ hands ahead of publication is a time-sensitive and sometimes logistically complicated feat – this is especially true when it comes to perishable foods. Above all else, you need to consider your ultimate goals (i.e., print, digital, or both focuses) and work backward from those publication deadlines. 

Outlet Deadlines 

As soon as the holidays are over, agencies are already working on next year’s holiday outreach strategy. Print publications are long lead, with some outlets working 6-7 months in advance. The rule of thumb with these outlets is the sooner, the better! If you are interested in Oprah or similar you need to begin working on gift guides no later than April. Oprah’s team opens submissions in May and closes by the end of June if not sooner. Oprah’s print publication mirrors what they include online later that year. Historically, they don’t add last-minute additions. 

There’s a bit more wiggle room for digital publications like blogs and online outlets. Expect outlets to work around two months in advance on their stories, but some blogs may have a shorter turnaround time and accept submissions up to two weeks before their deadline. Still, you will need to engage with an agency by the end of August. Online gift guides requests start piling up in September and often go live in October.

Getting ahead of these deadlines is essential, especially if it’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Sometimes the best plan of action is to reach out to editorial directors in advance to get a concrete deadline if not included in a media kit or editorial calendar. 

Prep Time

Yes, we already mentioned that an experienced PR agency could quickly be brought up to speed with your branding and become familiar with your product, but fleshing out a gift guide strategy is a whole different story. You should account for the amount of time your new agency will require to flesh out the best approach after completing critical research. Finding the proper outlets for your brand’s target audience, the best contacts at each outlet, and drafting the individual pitches themselves are crucial to landing a quality press hit. 

Account for Samples, Press Kits, and Marketing Material Production 

Most media outlets, bloggers, and influencers expect non-returnable product samples in exchange for consideration so they can feel confident recommending your brand and product. (Although some may accept products on loan for big-ticket items)  Be sure that you have shelf-ready product samples available. Some outlets will ask for inventory totals before they are willing to include your item as they don’t want to feature something that gets sold out immediately. Journalists will be less impressed with non-functional or dummy models, products missing final packaging, or frequently loaned items that show wear and tear. With influencers and bloggers, it’s essential to invest in a good presentation as many will still include the “unpacking” as part of their coverage. A cardboard box with bubble wrap is going to get much less appreciation than a well-adorned gift with other “surprises and delights” included. 

Overhead image of people putting together gift boxes. Person one is on a computer and person two is on an ipad.

Additionally, media will request high-res images and photos of your products that they can add to coverage with a simple click. You should have product shots and lifestyle images ready to go. Journalists’ time is precious. Ensure your agency can skip the back-and-forth by providing an all-in-one, streamlined pitch. Plus, they’ll be more inclined to include in coverage if the agency does the cumbersome heavy lifting.

When considering the appropriate time to bring on a PR agency to pitch for gift guides, consider production timelines for samples and whether or not you will need assistance from your agency in compiling marketing materials and assets. 

Affiliate Program Enrollment 

It’s not the case for all digital opportunities, but affiliated gift guides have quickly become the status quo. 81% of advertisers and 84% of publishers in the US are currently leveraging affiliate marketing to earn revenue. Some online gift guide submissions may even require a specific (prime-powered) affiliate link to be featured. While this allows the outlet to make money per click, rather than relying on more advertising on their website, it makes it increasingly harder to be featured in online gift guides. 

If you’re considering enrolling in an affiliate program to overcome this challenge (and potential barrier), make sure to account for the time it takes to select a program, register, and be approved ahead of your holiday campaign. Need a quick crash course on affiliate marketing? Check out our blog post here.

All Wrapped Up (in a bow, naturally)

Once you’ve considered all of the time constraints and worked backward from your intended holiday publication date, you can pinpoint the ideal time to hire a PR agency. While this seems like a hefty to-do list, once hired and onboarded, your agency will take it from there – tapping into their burgeoning contact list and getting your product in front of target audiences right on time for gifting.


Ready to get started with your customized PR program? When we work together, your brand does more than show up. It shows up with a story, a purpose, a unique reason for being – and it makes an impact.

[email protected]

How to Fisher-Price Your News for Journalists

4 Sure-Fire Ways to Make Your Pitches Irresistible

Journalists receive hundreds of pitches daily from publicists eager to tell them about clients, launches, or things they deem newsy. Those pitches can run the gamut from oddly inappropriate, to blessedly on-target, to a whole lot of WTF did I just read

So, what makes a journalist take the time to read your pitch, much less decide the information is worth sharing with their readers?   For one thing, a really great pitch never leaves you guessing. From the subject line to the introduction to the description, all elements shared should fit perfectly together- which come to think of it is a lot like classic  Fisher-Price toys. 

While there’s nothing juvenile about the PR and journalist relationship, sometimes it helps to go back to the basics.

If you’re trying to make your own pitches stand out from the scrum, consider adding a bit of Fisher-Price inspiration to your approach. 

Make it easy to understand.

Fisher-Price toys may have been developed by developmental specialists and engineers, but every single colorful element seems effortless. More than that, they make sense, fit seamlessly with each other and offer a bit of fun in the process before hitting the payoff. And that offers a lot of inspiration for publicists hoping to up their own game.

Before sharing your latest pitches, check for clarity with someone who knows nothing about your product or client. Your pitch shouldn’t be like the New York Times crossword puzzle, taking endless minutes to solve, it has to naturally flow from one piece to the next. 

PR pro tips: Reread your pitch from the journalist’s point of view before hitting send. 

There is nothing worse than receiving a pitch and having no idea of what you’re being pitched. As a publicist, you may have a clear idea of what you think you’re saying, but it might not make sense to anyone outside of your agency. By making your pitch easy to understand and navigate, you increase your chances of your entire pitch being read. And while you’re at it, you probably still need to cut things down to make it clear and bite-sized. 

Don’t make the reader have to plow through endless information for a payoff. And don’t make it so confusing that they give up in the middle. Let your reader know who your client is, why this pitch is relevant or timely. 

Unlike a Fisher-Price toy, a PR pitch shouldn’t feel like a guessing game. 

Make it timely.

Part of the genius of Fisher-Price is the way every toy is geared to a specific age group. Not sure if this is the game for your tot? Read the label and you’ll immediately know if it’s a good fit.

PR pro tips: Make your pitch newsy and timely whenever possible. Just because you’re working with a new client does not mean that it’s relevant or interesting to a journalist. If you can’t find an angle that works exclusively with their beat, find one that works with current events. But since the news cycle moves so quickly, you’ll have to be prepared to hit send quickly to stay relevant.

Do the heavy lifting behind the scenes.

One of the reasons for Fisher-Price’s great success is that they track the many moving parts behind the science of fun. Sure, they create products to dovetail with a baby’s growth and development, but there’s always a deep thought process behind what seems incredibly simple. They also laser focus on who they’re targeting and why and literally build ease of use into the process.

A huge challenge for journalists is keeping editors happy by writing stories that are clickable and organically shareable. As a publicist, you can help by crafting your pitch in a way that shows you’ve not only researched the writer’s outlets or potential angles, but also the way their content is shared or consumed.  

PR pro tips:

There’s a fine line between seeming to write the article for a journalist (don’t do that) and offering bite-sized blocks of information, comparisons, or data points illustrating why your pitch matters. Remember, before you can connect with a writer’s outlet, you have to connect with them first. And in case anyone needs reminding, PR stands for public relations.

Creating and maintaining relationships with journalists is a huge part of the job, and providing consistently good leads often makes you a partner in their process.

Don’t build in too many moving parts.

Part of the genius of Fisher-Price toys is that they somehow know just how many block pieces to include before the puzzle is solved. More than that, they create experiences that override frustration for a feeling of satisfaction. 

Along those lines, if you fill a pitch with so much useless information that a journalist has to dig around to find basic facts, they’ll simply skip to the next pitch. And they might just avoid your future pitches. Always give a writer the easiest possible way to cover your news.

PR pro tips: Before you spend that extra time pasting images into a PDF, ask yourself if that’s helpful to the journalist your pitching? Instead, offer a quick clickable link with a small image and then offer a high resolution image if requested. In other words, always provide journalists with the easiest possible way for them to cover your news. Segal Communications founder Sarah Segal said she and the team “always put the text of a press release into the body of the email and never as an attachment so that reporters can easily search it and don’t have to open anything.”