Restaurant Marketing Restaurant Advertising vs Restaurant Public Relations
About Us
Our Services
Press Releases
  Restaurant Marketing
  Restaurant Design
  Restaurant Grand
  Restaurant Promotions
  - 8 Reasons: Restaurant PR vs Billboards
  - Image Is Everything
  - Local Regional and National Restaurant PR
  - Restaurant press kits
  - Restaurant Press Trips
  - Restaurant Advertising VS Restaurant PR
  - The Value of Restaurant PR
  - What is Restaurant Public Relations?
Contact Us



Restaurant Advertising versus Restaurant PR

If a picture is worth a thousand words, an article is worth a thousand ads

By Aaron Allen


“Restaurant advertising you pay for, restaurant PR you pray for”. Though the adage is an old one, it is especially true today. People often confuse PR with advertising, but the two are dramatically different.


Simply put, restaurant advertising places ads while restaurant PR places news. Both are designed to elevate consumers' interest in product or service. Both often use the same media – print, radio and television and the Internet. This is where the similarities end.


Restaurant PR Builds Credibility, Advertising Breeds Skepticism

The late entertainer Will Rogers once said, “All I know is just what I read in the papers.” Restaurant PR generates news coverage, and news coverage builds credibility. The objective of restaurant PR is to tell your story through third-party outlets, primarily the media. People believe what they read in newspapers and magazines, what they hear on the radio and what they see on television. People are skeptical of what they see in an advertisement. Many advertising campaigns are mathematical successes and marketing failures. Advertisers may reach their intended mass audience with enough frequency and still not increase sales of their product or service. The emphasis of restaurant PR is not on reach or frequency, but the credentials of the medium and the quality of the placement. A published article or a broadcast story on radio and television is more credible than the most well placed advertisement. Credibility is critical. Consumers will trust a feature in Car & Driver or Consumer Reports describing why the Ford Taurus is the best in its class more than they will a slick advertisement from Ford claiming that it stands above the competition. Volvo didn’t gain its reputation of safety through advertising. Instead, it gained consumer trust through publicity from stories like its invention of the three-point lap-and-shoulder safety belt. In an attempt to fool readers, some companies even attempt to write advertisements that are designed to look like features. These are known as advertorials. Publications; however, make sure readers are aware the advertorial is a paid advertisement thus eliminating credibility in the minds of readers.


Restaurant PR Is Not Intrusive

In one of Aesop’s fables, the sun and the wind disagreed about who was the stronger of the two. They saw a man walking down the road, so they decided to settle the dispute by seeing who could make him take off his coat. The wind took its turn first. The harder the wind blew, the more closely the man wrapped his coat around him. The sun then began to shine, and it wasn’t long before the man felt the sun’s warmth and removed his coat.


Like the wind in Aesop’s fable, advertising is often perceived as an imposition. The harder the sell, the harder the wind blows and the harder the prospect resists the sales message. Restaurant public relations is like the sun. It leads to action and produces results subtly by presenting its message through an objective third party – the media.

Restaurant PR Is Cost-Effective, Advertising is Costly

Some business executives have the wrong impression that, because it appears on television or in a slick, glossy magazine, an advertisement is worth the expense. History has shown that, even though a commercial may have entertainment value, it doesn’t move consumers to purchase the product. People enjoyed the sock puppet, but apparently not enough to purchase their pet products online. David Leisure was funny as Joe Isuzu, but his comedic advertisements did not cause a rush at Isuzu dealerships.


It would be difficult to find an executive who would prefer seeing his company’s ads on TV instead of a news feature in Forbes or Fortune. The article builds credibility, positions the company as an industry leader and generates awareness without costing a penny.


Some people believe that the higher the price, the greater the value. In the case of advertising, figures indicate companies pay Rolex prices for Timex value. Brands are best built with a long-term public relations plan, not a short-term advertising blitz.


Restaurnat PR’s Life Span Is Longer Than Advertising

To the typical consumer, an ad is like a butterfly. Its life span is short-lived. This isn’t the case with restaurant PR. A well-placed story can reap benefits for an extended period. The fundamental restaurant PR strategy is to place a story in one publication and move it up the ladder to another magazine or newspaper, or transfer it to another medium such as radio or television. A story can also be sent down the ladder. For example, an article in the Wall Street Journal often later appears in smaller publications, further enhancing the story’s effectiveness.


When determining whether to spend your restaurant marketing budget on public relations or advertising, –weigh the importance of credibility, cost-effectiveness and a positive corporate image.


Though your restaurant public relations campaign may not be as expansive, the figures show that in the eyes and minds of consumers, what they see and read in the media is more impactful and viable than what they see and read in advertisements – making the phrase, “Restaurant advertising you pay for, restaurant public relations you pray for,” fact and not just an old adage.


High-volume restaurants, chain restaurants and leading supplier companies looking for cost-effective marketing should first consider restaurant PR as a tool. Effective restaurant PR can create record sales for your company and often for less than the cost of a single newspaper ad or billboard.


If restaurant PR isn’t currently part of your marketing mix, strongly consider appropriating 15% - 30% of your total advertising budget on an effective restaurant PR campaign. You’ll find both short-term and long-term gains from this approach that will have a positive cumulative impact far greater than traditional advertising approaches.


Founded by Aaron Allen, Quantified Marketing Group is an Orlando, Florida-based strategic marketing consultancy that specializes in the foodservice and hospitality industry. We work equally with high-volume independent restaurants, chain restaurants and leading supplier companies to develop their marketing strategy and guide them through execution of the marketing plans we build for them. We help these Clients develop competitor-proof relationships with customers and employees with a unique marketing philosophy that rarely – if ever- calls for mass media. Aaron Allen can be reached by visiting the Quantified Marketing Group website at or emailing