It has grown gianormously out of proportion. The media’s influence on the public, how they mold it and move us like lemmings is a remarkable phenomenon that has increasingly developed over the last two decades. As the importance of newspapers diminishes it seems that the combined strength of broadcast, airwaves, print and Internet leads us in any direction the powers that be want us to go.
What this has to do with restaurants is beyond remarkable. The media is now our competition. And, it was apparent over the past two weeks, as the Swine Flu strain topped every newscast, front page , broadcast and controlled much of the blogosphere not only in
I first noticed the media’s influence on restaurants when the final episode of Cheers in May of 1997 wiped out the evening’s receipts. On any given Thursday, my dining room was good for 100 diners – two turns. There were no cheers to be had on that particular Thursday night at Chez Foley in
Of late, the industry has had to endure many series season endings and sitcom finales. But the most ridiculous media display of “Simon says” came these past weeks as restaurants had to endure more disastrous news about the spreading of germs.
One thing we all need to become more familiar with is the marketing tools needed to combat the media’s foolishness when it comes to spreading bad news before it happens.
Anyone who had a buffet styled concept – whether it is local grocery stores, Whole Foods, Mexican Taqueria chains, or restaurants offering buffet styled Sunday Brunch, all suffered a definite dip in business. Cough guards are not tall enough to combat the front page epidemic of shock news. With this in mind, you may suffer this Mother’s Day if you are promoting a buffet styled brunch.
Another industry that has taken a beating is naturally, The Pork Producers of America. As soon as the Swine Flu began to morph into a”pandemic” pork prices nosedived faster than anyone could have of imagined. And since the flu strain had little to do with the actual ingestion of pork, it was amazing that the industry suffered such an astronomical loss. Prices of pork around the country and the world plummeted.
If you happen to have a menu that relies heavily on pork you may want to consider changing your focus for a few months as the consumer will not replace the bad taste in their mouth the media has left because of its ridiculous coverage of the Swine Flu.
And everyone needs to develop a plan on how to compete with the media, whether it be a season ending series event, anew Pandemic scare or the final game of the National Championship of whatever the media is definitely a force that has more control over your customers than you do.