Do you have a media protocol?

 In 4. Jenny Brooks, Public Relations

Authored by Jenny Brooks

A what? A media protocol? What’s that?

If you’re asking these questions, then I think it’s time we had a chat.

A media protocol is a process document that outlines the steps your staff should take when a person from the media contacts you.

What if a camera and reporter walk in to your restaurant during a rush time and expect to talk to someone? Who are they going to talk to and what are they going to be told? What if you’re not there? What if the manager is in the kitchen and the hostess intercepts them? Does the hostess know what to do? Does the manager know what to do?

The protocol tells everyone who works in your restaurant what to do if they receive a call from the media, if a cameraperson, a reporter or other member of the media shows up at your restaurant.

The reason to have a process in place is so that an employee doesn’t get surprised or a customer ambushed outside your restaurant. With a process in place, they can alert you to the interest from the media and not get caught “on the record” saying something they’re not prepared to talk about.

Even if it’s a positive interview, you want to be able to take advantage of every square inch of print space or every second of air time and talk about the right things. So you need time to prepare.

That’s why the protocol is important.

Train your employees to it, just like any system you’ve implemented from David Scott Peters.

To set up a basic media protocol:

  • Tell all of your employees that they are not to talk to the media on behalf of your restaurant in a spokesperson role and explain that it’s for their protection and yours and your customer’s.
  • Have them direct any and all requests from media for information or an interview to either you as the owner or your general manager.
  • If someone wants to shoot footage of the restaurant, or outside your restaurant — typically called b-roll footage — that also needs to be cleared.
  • Then, you or the general manager follows up with the reporter.

What you do from there is a whole other discussion, and one we can have in the near future. But for now, do yourself a favor and set up this protocol.

Jenny Brooks is a public relations professional providing expert and strategic tactics for businesses trying to increase awareness about themselves and their products. She is also the editor of SMART Systems Insider, a monthly newsletter from restaurant expert David Scott Peters. Questions about PR and how she can help your restaurant? Email her.

Recent Posts