In a recent cover story by the St. Louis Business Journal, which assesses the role of marketing and public relations in the restaurant industry, you'll learn that about 60,000 new restaurants have opened annually in recent years. However, about 50,000 restaurants have closed in that time frame, but that still leaves 10,000 new choices for consumers every year, according to the National Restaurant Association.
So how does a restaurant stand out in such a crowded market? An increasing number of them are turning to public relations and marketing firms, like local restauranteurs Nathaniel Reid of Nathaniel Reid Bakery and Michael Gallina of Vicia.
Both were recently nominated for a James Beard Award, and both have enlisted the help of local PR and marketing firms, like Pam Schlichter Communications and Jasper Paul PR & Marketing.
"We knew we had a unique product and story, but I wasn't able to amplify the reach of that story," Reid said. "They (Jasper Paul) became our megaphone."
"The truth is, we are the worst at social media and don't advertise much," Powers said. "Only in issues where we win awards. We were lucky to have built up a following at Soulard Market from 2007 to 2014."
Lona's lack of PR and social media hasn't hindered the restaurant or the chef. Luo was nominated for a James Beard Award earlier this year.
Click here to see all of St. Louis' James Beard nominees and finalists since 2014.