A La Carte: Restaurant + Food PR News & Trends (McDonald’s, Leap Day, Sustainability)

Happy Friday!

Millions of people born on Leap Day may not technically get to celebrate their birthdays every year, but this year that might not be such a bad thing. Many brands and even local restaurants took the opportunity to recognize and reward this special birthday group. This week food brands were celebrating Leap Day with all sorts of promotions and giveaways. From Leap Day surprises to top food brands’ sustainability efforts, we’ve compiled this week’s food PR news – dig in!

Social Spotlight

Food brands capitalized on Leap Day for a whole bunch of different reasons. There was no shortage of deals, jokes and promotions:

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Some brands even went a step further. McDonald’s combined its ongoing #AllDayBreakfast promotions with #LeapDay and rewarded 24 customers around the country who have non-traditional work schedules and are known for making a difference in their communities.

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For a few days before and on Leap Day, different regional McDonald’s Twitter accounts shared pictures and videos of the moment they rewarded their customers. Besides giving away McDonald’s breakfast, prizes ranged from large checks to a Broncos swag bag. We love how McDonald’s did a wonderful job spreading the love – both on Twitter and off!

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Leap Day Local Activation

Even though we often highlight the big brands to gain inspiration from, Leap Day has been a fun example for local restaurants and brands to get creative and engage with their community and target audiences. Here’s a fabulous example from our own backyard in Grandview, Ohio. It was a collaboration of a number of local restaurants, bakeries, breweries and influencers that resulted in a fun, feisty Leap Day extravaganza


Event credit: speechbubble, DrinkUp Columbus, Destination Grandview and Yelp Columbus. Photo credit: Destination Grandview.

Trend Watch: Sustainability

Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., the company that developed a brewing system that changed the game for hot beverages, is in the middle of a growing PR crisis. Being environmentally friendly has been a trend that continues to gain more traction, and many brands have made efforts to be more “green”. Now the pods that made Keurig so famous are starting to backfire.

This week a city in Germany announced they would be banning the use of coffee pods in government buildings as an effort to be more environmentally friendly. For brands like Keurig and Nespresso, this might just be the beginning of a strong resistance from the public about these convenient coffee pods. Keurig has publicly announced plans to make all of its pods recyclable by 2020, but that might not be quick enough.

There’s no denying it – being “green” is in. Many brands have begun altering products to keep in line with this eco-marketing trend that just keeps growing – especially among millennials. Sustainability is a growing consideration for consumers as they strive to make buying decisions that positively impact their health, community and footprint.

PR Lesson of the Week

The coffee pod resistance uncovers a great PR lesson. These pods added convenience and simplicity for tea and coffee drinkers at their homes and in offices around the world – but now they’ve become a symbol of the company’s lack of sustainability efforts.

It’s no longer a bonus for a brand to be environmentally conscious, but instead becoming a standard expectation. Many food brands are already on the “green” bandwagon and have successfully weaved their brand values into everything they do. Here are some brands that rule the green scene:

1. Starbucks
Starbucks is known for its commitment to building energy efficient stores, having cups made from recycled material and creating reusable Starbucks cups for customers. The company is also well known for supporting efforts to fight climate change and frequently shares its sustainability advancements with its followers.


2. Pret a Manger
Pret, an organic coffee and sandwich shop, has a strong five-step strategy that outlines the steps it’s taking to be more sustainable. The company aims to eliminate wasteful products, support sustainable farming, and also supports the Pret Foundation, a non-profit that supports economical solutions to elevate hunger and homelessness in the United States.

3. Whole Foods
One of America’s healthiest grocery stores is leading the way in green efforts. Whole Foods has taken steps to ban plastic grocery bags, use compostable supplies in stores, has invested in renewable wind and solar energy for its stores and has continued to win awards year after year for its efforts.

Not every brand needs to make the environment its number one passion, but brands need to keep in mind what their target audience values. In order to last, brands need to know what the next generation wants, too.

Hungry For More?

Thanks for stopping by this week’s A La Carte food PR news!

Do you support any brands because of the values and issues they support? Share with us in the comments!

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As an Account Executive for Belle Communications, Mary helps our clients grow their brands with smart and strategic content across social media platforms and targeted media coverage. Mary is a recent graduate from The Ohio State University, where she studied communications and writing. Her favorite things to do in her free time are running, reading and traveling.

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