Restaurants are hot topics. Everyone wants to own one. And, write about them. The perception that ownership offers instant celebrity is contagious. The buzz is reaching heights of almost epidemic proportion. Combine this with the fact most restaurant owners walk through life with magnetic personalities attracting hangers-on like bees to a hive and you have the ingredients for a great story.
Therefore, when writers call to ask a few questions, many managers, waiters, and owners open up like the
This isn’t always the case. Frequently, the writer is looking for that piece of meat, that one little tidbit of information that will make a headline glisten and readership soar. I remember a time when a reporter for The St. Paul Pioneer Press interviewed my wife, Kranston. The highlight of the story was the struggles area merchants were going through due to the recession. The economic situation was taking its toll on
Just last week Smart Money.com published an on line story written by Christine Bockelman. The story’s headline, “Ten Things Your Restaurant Won’t Tell You” enticed readers to delve into the informative article and read about tricks we all know are used in the business. I spoke with Bockelman while she was doing her research and she is a level headed, professional reporter that you feel comfortable speaking with. And, her story was well written, informative, and fair. However, the story was not out for more than eleven minutes before the TV news called one of the subjects in the story and wanted to come to their restaurant to do an on-sight news story.
As it turned out, it was good for business. But the customers did have to endure an evening of TV cameras in the dining room during an evening of supposed relaxation. The owner, a tremendous marketer, passed out gift certificates and made many friends. Yet, a less savvy businessperson could have found himself or herself in media turmoil without even knowing why.
A bit of advice: Unless you are familiar with the media, when the reporters call- whether for a feature story or news- put your ego in the office, lock your bombastic personality in the safe. Answer the questions straight forward and honestly, and make sure that the story is lean, not mean, because today’s reading public loves looking at a plate of words that are meaty and juicy.