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National Restaurant Association - How to work with media

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How to work with media

When pitching a story idea or handling a crisis situation, it helps to have established good working relationships with reporters and news organizations. Follow these suggestions to get that ball rolling.

  • Establish working relationships with relevant outlets and business and food/restaurant reporters. Learn their deadlines and broadcast schedules so that you can avoid calling at those times.
  • Be a good neighbor. Invite reporters for a meal at your restaurant (on you, if their organization’s policies allow them to accept). Provide a copy of your press kit.
  • Attitude counts. When pitching a news story, be friendly and to the point. Focus on why your story idea would be of interest to their readers/viewers/listeners (and don't mention that your business advertises with their news organization).
  • Quick turnaround is best. Respond to media inquiries in a timely manner; reporters are often on same-day deadlines.
  • Know your facts. This is particularly important when dealing with a sensitive topic or crisis situation. Find out what happened and know the story cold. Write the facts down to memorize them more easily. Identify confidential information that can't be released.
  • Educate your team. Communicate with your employees so they know where you stand and why.
  • Centralize crisis communication. Designate one person to handle crisis communication so your story doesn't get garbled.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Rehearse your story so you won't stumble. Refer to written notes. Anticipate potential problems and questions, and have answers ready.
  • Avoid saying "no comment." Don't become defensive or hostile, and never repeat a negative accusation made against your restaurant.
  • Check for accuracy. Note any inaccuracies about your establishment and correct them.
  • Respect a journalist’s role. Don't ask to see the story before it runs – journalists prefer to retain editorial control.

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