It’s 6:00 p.m. and you are headed home with one thought on your mind… dinner. As your belly rumbles, you bypass dozens of restaurants with each passing block- running the gamut from fast food to fancy as you try to determine which craving to indulge. After a few minutes of decision crisis, you circle the block and decide to check out a new “must-visit” spot you read about this morning on Eater- home to killer burgers. You sink into your booth and check-in via Yelp before feasting your eyes on a menu touting 20 different options, from grass-fed with goat cheese to triple decker with truffles. Having just read a blog post on the benefits of grass-fed beef, you go with the #6 and take the same number of iPhone pictures upon its arrival, making sure to filter as perfectly as possible before posting to Instagram. You leave full and satisfied, ready to unwind with stretchy pants and the ever-faithful Netflix. You scroll through a host of movies and shows from “Top Gun” to “Top Chef” and decide your last hour of Monday should include Tom Colicchio. Your favorite chef from your hometown is on the show and your one-episode plan somehow turns to four before you doze off into sweet dreamland.


There is no doubt as a society, we are more passionate about food than ever before. Meals take on new meaning as media educates us about the latest culinary news, talent and tools to test and taste. As diners’ options expand, competition escalates in the culinary industry with food products, restaurants and chefs vying for the attention of patrons. Word-of-mouth only travels so far as culinary companies and restaurants in cities of all sizes recognize the importance and necessity of incorporating public relations into their businesses. Our foodie-minded team at LHG has found a successful recipe for achieving results for our culinary clients consisting of five key ingredients.

See below for our secret sauce:

1. Foster Media Collaboration

Credit: @HolyCityHandcraft

In order to garner press for our culinary clients in Charleston, our LHG team became familiar with hosting media meet-ups for bloggers and social media influencers at restaurants to encourage discussion and experience news related to menus, cocktails, renovations, etc. After frequently hosting these meet-ups with the same group of culinary-minded media, we found that not only were these events beneficial for generating press for our restaurants, they also proved to be extremely beneficial to the influencers as well. The events became a time for the group to share thoughts and ideas with one another related the city’s culinary scene and in between bites and brews, creativity and friendships blossomed. We decided to brand the group as “#TasteMakersCHS” with a dedicated hashtag to be used at all events for use on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Through online articles, blog posts and social media mentions, #TasteMakersCHS has seen success in cross-promoting restaurants with individuals who have a passion for Charleston’s ever-evolving culinary culture.



2. National Roundups

culinaryprWhether browsing national websites, magazines, newspapers, blogs or social media, food news often comes in the form of numbers. Lists of the top places for brunch, booze or burgers flood our feeds and affect our dining decisions. We have found that one of the most effective ways to secure press for a client is to include a chef’s signature dish or drink in a roundup of similar selections presented to the media as a carefully curated list. The power of a pitch is amplified in a roundup versus a stand-alone offering, making the journalist’s job a piece of cake for turning the content quickly into an appealing post. And don’t forget to include those drool-worthy images when sending!


3. Local Event Participation

restaurantpr1From ingredient-themed dinners to mixology classes to foodie fundraisers, the number of culinary events available to diners on a weekly basis is growing rapidly. One of the best ways to garner press for chefs and restaurants and bolster their reputation in their city’s culinary community is to secure participation in local culinary events. We make it a point to stay in-the-know related to future events that may be the right fit for our clients. If possible, it’s always great to arrange for time during the event for chef and audience interaction, whether through face-time while passing out dishes, a brief speech or Q&A session. Allowing diners to connect with their food through interaction with the chefs, farmers and artisans who created it enhances their experience, resulting in positive press. Ensuring chefs and restaurants are active in local events is key to keeping them at the center of their city’s competitive culinary scene. A great way to get plugged into local events is by connecting with your local YELP community, as they often host specially-themed events with many prominent culinary influencers present.


4. Media Prep/Follow Up for Events

Credit: RFS

Whether hosting media for a private dinner, culinary event or social media meet-up, it is important to ensure they are armed with necessary information and details before arriving. That includes making them aware of arrival time, attire, event attendees and tipping protocol (always recommend). If the event is social-media driven, let them know the event’s hashtag and the restaurant’s handles so they are ready to post from the start. While the media will most likely be taking their own pictures, it’s also helpful to take some of your own to share afterwards in case they missed something they realize they need for their article or post. Following the event, it’s always good to send a timely email or letter thanking the media for attending and offering to send images or more information if needed.


5. Instagram Feeding Frenzy

Credit: Peden + Munk

In our social media-obsessed society where everyone is an amateur foodstagammer, diners rely on Instagram to determine where to stop for their next meal. Instagram influencers in some cases make a living off enticing their followers to crave what they ate for lunch. And it’s working. As Michelle Ruiz asserted in her article for Bon Appetit, “influencers can, and often do make restaurants. A wave of Instagram posts about the milkshakes at Black Tap Burgers in New York’s Soho, heaping all-you-can-eat candy stores in a glass, led to a mouth-watering Buzzfeed story with more than 2 million views, hours-long lines and a feature on ABC’s The Chew.” What does this mean for PR? We make it a priority to connect with top instagrammers with large followings and introduce them to our clients to experience memorable culinary events first-hand. Be sure the chefs are prepared to present them with picture-worthy plates, as no food at the table gets eaten without a photo first!