Our Marketing Director Ben England says that when it comes to idea generation sometimes the simplest of ideas can be the best.

I spend a good deal of time thinking about new and interesting ways to market restaurants but sometimes I come across an idea that is so perfect in its simplicity that I question why neither myself, nor for that matter anyone else, didn’t come up with it sooner. 

A recent favourite, and I’m sure this has been done before, just not perhaps as well as this, has been the series of ‘Cookbook Dinners’ that the Marksman Pub in Hackney has been doing. The concept is simple: they ask one of their favourite chefs to cook a selection of their favourite dishes from their favourite cookbook.
Now it just so happens that the team at the Marksman are very well connected (head-chef and co-owner Tom Harris worked for St John) and have been able to pull in some big names, Fergus Henderson of St John, who picked Fernand Point’s Ma Gastonomie, Jeremey Lee (Quo Vadis) who cooked from Elizabeth David’s An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, Nathan Outlaw chose Rick Stein’s Seafood Odyssey and next week Nuno Mendes will be cooking his interpretations of some of the classic dishes to be found in Nose to Tail Eating (again Fergus pops up!).
These events are interesting enough for people like myself who are fascinated by which writers, cooks and chefs inspired some of my ‘foodie’ heroes (in fact I usually ask a favourite chef or restauranteur when I meet them what their favourite cookbook is and add it to my expanding collection) but the Marksman have been clever and they have teamed up with Vice / Munchies to offer a ‘post-match’ report of proceedings or those not lucky enough to be there (they have sold out in a matter of minutes I’ve been told). A neat marketing and PR link – a sold out event and some nice press out of it the other side. Plus, being a series means it helps to sell the next one too.
Obviously not every restauranteur is going to have a contacts book like Tom Harris but the idea can be utilised in other ways. Perhaps a social media campaign? A leaf through a client’s favourite cookbooks via a bit of video or photographs? Or perhaps a set of events that take inspiration from a cookbook, a city or an area?
Always having something going on, be it and event or menu is essential for great restaurant PR and marketing – we can help you come up with the ideas and market it – we can’t guarantee that Fergus will come and cook for you though!