TVNewser AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote FishbowlNY FishbowlDC SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

Posts Tagged ‘Food and beverage’

Kraft Plans to Turn Down Its Orange Glow in 2014

5lb-bag-of-kraft-cheese-powderIf you have children of most ages, you have certainly ripped open a box of processed, delectable Kraft Mac N’ Cheese. The kids clamor for it, and be honest, you enjoy making it in 10 minutes or less on a school night.

However, if you have carefully investigated what you are cooking, you may have noticed that balmy, nuclear orange glow that slightly resembles Speaker John Boehner (or one of Willy Wonka’s Oompa-Loompas) on a bright summer day. How can that mess be edible with that enriched food coloring from the planet Angina?

To wit, AP is reporting Kraft will remove artificial (and nearly retina-tearing) coloring from three of its products in 2014.

Read more

Mediabistro Course

Content Marketing 101

Content Marketing 101Get hands-on content marketing training in our brand new boot camp, Content Marketing 101! Starting September 8, digital marketing and content experts will teach you the tips and tricks for creating, distributing and measuring the success of your brand's content. Sign up before August 15 and get $50 OFF registration. Register now! 

PR Win: Chicago Restaurant ‘Dresses Up’ As Competitor Alinea for Halloween

This Halloween stunt will be especially fun for food people. Chicago’s Alinea consistently ranks as one of the top three restaurants in the country. As you can see from this clip and this clip, they’re famous for making extremely weird stuff and presenting it in even weirder ways.

It’s a bit misleading to call fellow Windy City eatery Real Kitchen a “competitor” because they serve takeout dinners, but they do have a sense of humor about being in the same town as food snob royalty, and they displayed it with panache on Halloween. They even made a promo video poking fun at the very idea of a “high-concept kitchen”, and it is a hilarious five minutes:

Some quips we love:

“The chicken was powderized and then reconstructed with fresh-squeezed chicken juice…”

“The potatoes are then arranged as if they were scattered on a forest floor…”

“A walnut highlights the earthy smell of Fall decay…”

Beat that, Bourdain. This one gets our vote for best Halloween stunt.

Yelp Reviewers File Suit Demanding Pay for Their Sloppy Copy

PeopleloveusonYelp

Here’s a twist on the “brand ambassador” and “crowdsourced content” trends: a group of hard-working Yelp “critics” has filed a class-action lawsuit demanding that the site pay them for writing so many reviews of the businesses they love and hate.

You may think this is “incredibly stupid” given the fact that the reviewers volunteered their time and (debatable) skills and that Yelp never promised to pay them. But it’s a little more complicated than that.

The argument here: while Yelp aggressively goes after companies that pay for reviews (and PR firms that post them), the company also encourages its most prolific members to post more often by offering “trinkets, badges, titles, praise, social promotion, free liquor, free food, and free promotional Yelp attire, such as red panties with ‘Make Me Yelp!’ stamped across its bottom.”

Ha ha. And Yelp can’t honestly say that it never pays contributors with money, either.

Read more

Chinese Chicken Creates a PR Challenge for Food Distributors

Any business selling America’s favorite flightless bird faces a bit of a conundrum after authorities decided to allow our own fowl to be processed in China before hitting stores and restaurants stateside.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture agreed to let a limited number of Chinese plants process chicken for sale in the United States—and it’s not even Chinese chicken. That’s right, these feathered sandwich fillers, which were raised and slaughtered on this side of the Atlantic, will travel East for a bit of re-dressing before returning in time for a dip in the deep fryer.

Read more

Guy Fieri Satire Site Goes Viral

What’s a little Internet mockery when many already see your brand as low-hanging fruit? After Pete Wells‘s scathing New York Times review of Guy Fieri‘s new restaurant went viral, we said “meh”. Nobody ever mistook Fieri’s brand for fine dining, so we felt like all this negative attention might actually be good for him.

Now Fieri is in the news again: a certain Internet jokester realized that Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar had yet to secure its own URL and decided to create his own as a joke.

At this moment, the site consists of a single-page mock menu hawking hilarious items like the “Olive Garden” side salad, “Football: the Meal” and “Guy’s Big Balls”, or “two 4-pound Rice-A-Roni crusted mozzarella balls endangered with shaved lamb and pork and blasted with Guy’s signature Cadillac Cream sauce until dripping off the plate.”

Again, we can’t see this stunt damaging Fieri’s reputation. But the copy is pretty funny.

Seamless Delivers $100 Million in Sales (and PR Lessons)

SeamlessWebThe key to winning the public’s favor is to make life easier for us. We love simplicity and convenience, and we welcome companies that deliver like long lost siblings (that would be rich, good-looking siblings, not the broke manipulative type).

Seamless, the food delivery website that connects people with local restaurants, just lived up to its catchy tagline “We exist to make hungry people happy” by announcing that it will generate more than $100 million in revenue this year. By charging a small service fee for each transaction, Seamless has created a popular, lucrative business model poised for continued success.

As PR experts, we’re fascinated by brands that resonate so strongly with the public by offering something so simple. In principle, the old-school system of directly contacting restaurants to place a delivery or pick up order couldn’t be any easier. Adding a middle man would only complicate matters, right?

Apparently not!

Read more

OpenTable Acquires Foodspotting, Encourages Users to Keep Playing With Their Dinner

Last week we told you that some fancy-pants New York City restaurants have begun pushing back against the “Instagramming your meal” trend by discouraging amateur photographers from breaking out their iPhones during dinner. Yet some within the food business have other ideas: Leading restaurant reservations app/site OpenTable just bet $10 million on user-generated content by acquiring Foodspotting, a startup designed to help users “find and [share] great dishes at restaurants.”

In case you haven’t seen Foodspotting, it’s a fairly inventive little app that allows users to search for, say, New York City’s best cheesecake (which isn’t at Junior’s, no matter how many people tell you otherwise) and displays other users’ shared photos of said cake. It’s a purely visual food community that’s about to get even bigger–and this means that the “playing with our food” debate won’t be over anytime soon, no matter what David Chang thinks.

Read more

Pinterest and Punchfork: A Food PR Dream Team

Pinterest recipesLast week brought news of the first acquisition for Pinterest, the newest big player in the social media/promotion game. The company’s first get is a recipe bookmarking site called Punchfork (haha), and we feel like the two might just be a perfect pair.

We’ve all noted how Pinterest provided new life to visually-oriented lifestyle magazines like Martha Stewart Living, Cooking Light and Real Simple. What do these titles have in common? Recipes–lots of ‘em, presented in impeccable style.

According to Wired, Punchfork made a name for itself by “pull[ing] recipes from popular food blogs”, organizing them in a Pinterest-inspired layout and allowing users to search by item and filter by factors like ingredients or dietary needs.

The Punchfork site will soon shut down; its founder and CEO has already moved to Pinterest and will devote his future time to ensuring that the pin site remains the king of online recipes.

Our take? This acquisition reinforces the fact that any and every food-related property–be it a cooking site like Serious Eats, a major magazine like Southern Living or a top restaurant/chef that occasionally shares recipes–needs to get on Pinterest, pronto. In fact, we feel confident in saying that even the finest restaurants could benefit from sharing some simple how-tos with the public.

In other words, PR pros with food industry clients should take note. Oh, and while we’re on the topic, here are our 12 Pinterest Tips from Magazine Pros.

Creative Restaurant Turns the Tables on Yelp Haters

Craft & Commerce Restaurant Regular readers will know that we have very mixed feelings about the business review site Yelp—and user generated reviews in general. Of course, a good number of restaurant owners (and the firms that rep them) rightly see Yelp reviews as the bane of their existence.

For these and other reasons, we were amused by one San Diego restaurant’s innovative PR response to the Yelp challenge.

Some managers respond to individual critics, apologizing for bad experiences and even offering discounts, while others turn the worst reviews into business cards. San Diego “gastropub” Craft & Commerce decided to take another, even more creative route: The restaurant recorded employees reading negative reviews in comic voices and now plays these tracks over the restroom PA system. Click through for a couple of especially dramatic samples:

Read more

Will Terrible Reviews Hurt the Guy Fieri Brand?

Guy FieriYesterday, quite a few food fanatics shared The New York Times writer Pete Wells’s epic takedown of Guy Fieri’s new Times Square restaurant. Wells wrote the review as a series of scathing rhetorical questions for the chain’s founder. Examples include:

  • “Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex?”
  • “Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are?”
  • “What exactly about a small salad with four or five miniature croutons makes Guy’s Famous Big Bite Caesar (a) big (b) famous or (c) Guy’s, in any meaningful sense?”

He keeps going for two pages; it’s a little intense.

We really like Pete Wells. He’s a true “subject matter expert”, and nearly every major media outlet mentioned his review at some point over the past 48 hours.

Here’s the thing, though: his write-up (and the many other negative reviews sure to follow) probably won’t hurt the restaurant’s business or damage the multimillion dollar Fieri brand. The Guy isn’t known for the quality of his food; he’s known for being a regular Joe who shows up on TV all the time looking like a he just lost a dare involving a vat filled with Axe hair gel and bleach. The whole point of his show is that mediocre food is fun, and he’s very good at marketing and product placement.

Read more

NEXT PAGE >>