Advertising Your Restaurant Effectively:  Advertising or Public Relations?

Positive public recognition is important for your restaurant’s success; this recognition can be accomplished through “public relations campaign” as well as advertising.

Note that a “public relations campaign” and advertising are two very different things. Both are meant to elevate the interest of consumers in a service or product and both use generally the same tools, like radio, television, print and the internet, advertising uses ads and public relations uses news.

Here is a look at advertising and public relations differences:

Message control

As to how, where and when an advertisement flows, is very controllable. An ad space bought in the correct format like radio, broadcast, online, print, etc. implies that you have control over the messages that you want to communicate.

On the other hand, while the message creating process by means of public relations is also very controllable, it is what happens or results after your message has departed is usually uncontrollable, which brings up the question of whether potential customers perceive the information you supplied as newsworthy. In public relations, it makes sure it is.

Information Personalization

Advertisements, being very costly, don’t provide you with enough room to customize or personalize your restaurant’s story.

A public relations promotion does this, by creating a story of multiple angles aimed to successfully reach various media outlets like daily newspapers, business journals, food service publications, city magazines, entertainment and dining publications, national magazines, etc.  You increase your broadcast and reach more audiences that will be educated about your restaurant.

Implied Endorsement

In advertising, you pay somebody to have your message directly filtered to your prospect consumers.

With public relations however, it can afford the reliability of an indirect endorsement of a “third-party”. Meaning you don’t pay to get advertised, publications offered to you for free, granting you space so you can rely your restaurant’s story to customers. This endorsement is an efficient tool in sculpting public opinion.


There can be no comparison to the “cost” of display advertising in a magazine or publication as to the “cost” of distributing and writing an informative press release.

Hiring a firm to create press releases for your restaurant is definitely many times cheaper compared to advertising costs.

Furthermore, press release articles are viewed by more audiences since consumers are more interested in stories as opposed to advertisements.

Life Span

With public relations, a well-constructed story can have the attention of the reader for a long time, where an ad is noticed by the viewer in a span of just about 5 minutes.

Consumers normally clip certain articles they read, such as a new destination that they would want to visit or a new restaurant where they would want to sample food. 

The goal of public relations is to maintain a “noise” or sort of an ongoing talk about your restaurant and what it has to offer, and build up credibility. There are many media outlets that you can easily reach when you have made a “well-expressed” plan as well as the appropriate public relations company to execute it.

So when will you be using public relations? Why and when to advertise? The answer lies with you and you alone.  It all depends on your needs and on what you want to accomplish. You can use both advertising and public relations as your marketing tools together, or separately as the situation demands.