Lecture 10: Promotion and Advertising

Required: You’re safe for this lecture!
Recommended: look at the restaurant ads in your local paper or look for some online restaurant reviews. Note which catches your eye. Think about how you can use it in a vegetarian application

***** One Lecture Away From the First (Label) Project!!*****

By the end of this lecture the student should be able to:

  1. List at least three vegetarian marketing ideas

  2. Explain business ethics related to vegetarianism
  3. Identify low budget promotion possibilities

It Pays to Advertise
If you don’t talk about your wonderful offerings, no one else will! This will be a short and sweet lecture. The message is short and simple: develop a good product and then communicate about it!

The Veggie Angle
As you have gathered from the previous lectures, vegetarian cuisine is IN. You have to develop some wonderful vegetarian items, and then you have to let people know that you offer them. Language is very important. Nobody will get excited about "steamed broccoli on rice." However, how about "fresh, seasonal broccoli florets infused with mushroom broth and seasoned with fresh herbs and lemon zest, served on a bed of jasmine-scented rice?"

You get the idea! If you have a menu, look it over and jazz it up. If you’re writing a menu, remember your adjectives! Which leads to the next subject:

Truth in advertising is the only way to go, ethically and legally. Be a label reader if you are using processed products in your menu items. Be absolutely certain that they are vegan if you are advertising vegan items. The same goes for organic, natural, vegetarian, kosher, low fat and many, many more.

Check with your local restaurant association for label laws in your state. For example, if you call something "heart healthy" (which is copyrighted by the American Heart Association) then it has to meet the legal standards for the descriptor. Check, check and recheck with your kitchen staff to be certain that they understand which ingredients are to be used in which recipes, especially if you offer both vegan and vegetarian items.

You want to be known as a person of integrity. And you are concerned about helping people to maintain the eating patterns and life styles they have chosen. The responsibility for this is in your hands. This may mean contacting manufacturers, touring warehouses, and asking for certificates of authenticity. It is well worth it.

Who, What, Why, When, and How to do it
So, now that you have everything in place, how are you going to get out the news? Here are some suggestions

For the Big Budgets

  1. advertising in local yellow pages

  2. advertising in local newspapers
  3. advertising in regional magazines
  4. advertising on local television stations, especially on weekends and prior to holidays
  5. advertising on local radio stations, especially during food programs
  6. large mailings
  7. advertising on web sites

For Smaller Budgets and Large Imaginations

  1. write press releases for food section and local section of newspaper. Press releases can describe an interesting activity, charity event or other events of general interest (world’s largest veggie burger, forty types of tofu items offered on menu). This type of coverage is not thought to be advertising, and is usually free.

  2. investigate community service coverage offered by TV and radio stations. Most have a certain amount of time dedicated to this and it is free
  3. cable and local access stations: generally will offer small blocks of free time
  4. flyers posted in large assembly areas, such as malls or college campus.
  5. join: local community groups, chambers of commerce, service clubs, etc. You’ll network like mad and get your info out there.
  6. investigate local vegetarian interest clubs. In addition to general interest clubs, inquire at religious organizations, health care facilities, college campuses, etc. Get involved. For example, offer to give a guest lecture on vegetarian cuisine at a hospital’s heart-healthy club.

These are just some ideas. We’re sure you have even more. By the time you’re done with this course, we know you’ll have a plan to let everyone know about the merits of vegetarian cuisine! Let’s go on to the next lecture, where we’ll discuss some special ingredients.

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Last Updated
December 8, 2000

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The contents of this web site, as with all The Vegetarian Resource Group publications, is not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional.

All contents of these lectures are copyright Chef Nancy Berkoff and The Vegetarian Resource Group.

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