Successful restaurant PR helped Maison Bleue reach four million people

by Scott Douglas

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Take one event, add a dollop of media relations, a sprinkling of social media and garnish with influencer outreach

Happy guests enjoy refurbishment- food and drink pr storySUCCESS for the finest restaurants involves a great many factors, including the skill of the chefs, the quality of the produce and the attitude of the front of house staff.

Not to mention the location, decor, ambiance and the power of reviews. Get the balance right and you have is a recipe for success. Get the mix wrong and you can be left with an unappetising and unpalatable mess.

The same is true for a PR campaign, where choosing the ideal ingredients, the perfect preparation time and an eye for presentation are all essential.

Here the Holyrood PR team share the recipe for PR success we served up for the relaunch of renowned Edinburgh restaurant, Maison Bleue. Find out how we artfully combined a range of ingredients, including traditional media relations, a social media hashtag campaign, skilful influencer relations, a masterclass in blogger outreach and eye catching photography and video.

The results? More than 25 media articles with a value of tens of thousands of pounds and reaching a potential audience of millions, widespread buzz across social media and a perfectly baked launch event attracting dozens of just the right influencers.

You can learn how we achieved that in this latest helpful PR guide, a five course menu on how to create a memorable media profile with a garnish of positive buzz for a  business. Yum!


The restaurants glamorous refurbishment- food and drink prWe knew we had to whet the appetite of key business media when announcing the relaunch of the restaurant, after it was closed for a month for an extensive refurbishment.

So we targeted top writers hungry for new and exciting content, enticing them with a business-focused release about the six figure investment made by owner Dean Gassabi to totally reinvent the restaurant.

You can read the original media release here, which explains how Maison Bleue has become a dining institution in Edinburgh’s Old Town, as one of the city’s longest-running independent eateries.

That re-launch story went down a storm with target publications, landing a quarter page in The Scotsman business section – and online, a half page in the Fife Business Journal and a further feature in the Edinburgh Evening News.

If that wasn’t enough further coverage was served up on The Scottish Business News Network, BQ Live, Daily Business Group, Deadline News, Marketing Edinburgh and Travel and Tour World – see here for a more detailed round up of the coverage.

Now that’s a collection of gourmet top titles which all provided a massive platform for the new and improved Maison Bleue!



Chef poses in front of quote- food and drink pr storySince hospitality is their speciality, the Maison Bleue team decided to throw a launch party and challenged Holyrood PR to help make sure the evening was a success in terms of creating a buzz and achieving widespread reach.

Edinburgh is awash with restaurants with new venues launching all the time – so we knew we had to make Maison Bleu’s relaunch unrivalled and unforgettable.

As one of our key objectives was to promote Maison Bleue to a new generation of food lovers, we conceived a dedicated bloggers event ahead of the main launch party to reach a fresh audience, while building buzz around the Maison Bleue name.

Digital channels are important to the new generation of food writers who use blogging as their main platform, so we conceived a social media outreach campaign to reach them and invite them to the Maison Bleue relaunch event, all the while seeding the conversation with the #maisonbleue hashtag.

Invitation to post refurbishment party- food and drink prOn top of that we helped conceive and then designed an eye catching, vintage-themed e-invite to follow up our initial conversation to the foodie bloggers. It proved a runaway success, with 30 plus culinary writers queuing up to sample the new menu inspired by North African, Scottish and French cuisine.

Yet our preparations and media onslaught didn’t stop there, as we also took charge of the media invite list for the launch event, ensuring a wealth of key print writers were also aware of the exclusive launch.

A total of 20 confirmed journalists from publications such as The Skinny, The List, The Scotsman and The Edinburgh Evening News accepted our invitation to attend the restaurant relaunch.

Finally we also conceived and delivered another crucial element of influencer outreach – targeting concierges at some of the city’s best hotels.

What better way to attract a slew of new customers than to make friends with the men and women who are most often asked to recommend dining options for tourists and visitors. As a result of our dedicated hard work, we had 30 confirmed concierges and hospitality influencers – including from The Roxburghe, Radisson Blu, Crowne Plaza and G&V.



The launch events itself was a runaway success. Among the guests who drank fizz, sampled the food and soaked up the atmosphere were 90 of the journalists, bloggers and concierge from some of Edinburgh’s most luxury hotels.

Our team were present to help keep glasses topped up, answer questions about the refurbishment and help show off the finer design points of the lovingly refurbished restaurant.

What’s more, our PR video experts were also on hand to capture the event on camera, while we helped direct a photographer on the evening. You can watch the video, below:

One of the biggest successes of the evening was the online buzz created,  thanks to our engagement with the social media savvy bloggers and other digital influencers we invited.

They needed little encouragement to share their experiences across a dizzying range of social media, with Tweets, Facebook updates and Instagram photos – many featuring our #maisonbleue hashtag.

On Twitter alone during the evening this helped whip up a whopping 110 Tweets, engagement of 60+ users and reach of 80,000+ key Edinburgh consumers.



Food and drink public relations specialists at Holyrood PR achieve major coverage for the relaunch of Maison Bleue restaurantOne of the highlights of the night was when Maison Bleue unveiled the latest addition to its menu – an unusual and succulent dish that takes 24 hours to prepare.

We knew the launch of the Bedouin Feast would create a great photo opportunity, especially with the help of the exotic belly dancers who were in attendance.

Visual communications are vital to the success of any PR campaign, with photos being a huge boost to traditional media coverage, while images and video are essential for the new breed of online blogs, news sites and media outlets.

After overseeing the photoshoot we also prepared a detailed media release explaining the inspiration and history behind the Bedouin feast – a wedding delicacy favoured by nomadic desert tribes across North Africa.

As predicted that ideal combination of words and pictures went down a treat landing major photo features in the Edinburgh Evening News, The Scotsman, The Scotsman Online, The National and The National Online.



Media coverage of food and drink pr

Even though we were now full to bursting with PR success, it didn’t stop there… with a wealth of forward features published and confirmed, the coverage kept rolling in long after the event was finished.

Post event saw a steady stream of coverage from key bloggers Vicky Viola and Edinburgh Feasts – a review from respected Scotsman food critic, Gaby Soutar – a picture diary piece in Foodies Magazine, and also a slot in the highly respected Edinburgh Festivals Magazine.

If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, then the proof of PR success is in the reading.

The buzz created on social media alone reached more than 520,000 people – helping get Maison Bleue’s messages in front of a huge audience of potential customers.

Indeed, a further testament to the success of the project was highlighted by the approximate increase of 200 relevant Twitter followers for the official Maison Bleue account.

Meanwhile the mainstream media coverage created a further 3.9 million opportunities to see, reaching Edinburgh’s most trusted news outlets, business titles and also restaurant trade media.

The video of the night is constantly racking up new views, helping showcase Maison Bleue to potential new customers, while a small army of hotel concierges are recommending the restaurant to their guests, having experienced it for themselves.


Food and Drink PR has the right ingredients to make sure you get the headlines you deserve

The team at Holyrood PR are a passionate bunch and we firmly believe that stories are at the heard of successful businesses. We believe that when those stories are told well to the right audiences it helps businesses become more profitable while making them better places to work.

Across our website you’ll find that we practice exactly what we preach – telling the stories of our clients and our own business every day,  in words, pictures and video, across print, broadcast and social media

If you’d like to find out how our range of PR services can help you build a more profitable and rewarding business, then give us a call on 0131 561 2244, or get in touch by filling out the simple form below and we’ll get straight back to you:

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Scott Douglas, of public relations agency Holyrood PR in Scotland

Scott Douglas

Scott Douglas is the co-founder of the multi award-winning Holyrood PR, renowned public relations agency in Edinburgh, Scotland.
As well as providing expert PR services in Scotland and the UK, the former journalist heads a team which offers a host of other professional media services.
Those include crisis management PR, photography for business PR, affordable business video, social media campaigns and strategic content planning and delivery for businesses of all sizes.

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