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Big Chef Little Chef – PR masterstroke

Written by Paul Stallard

Source: Telegraph

My wife and I were hooked to Big Chef Little Chef this past week where Fat Duck wonder chef Heston Blumenthal attempted to turn around the fortunes of Little Chef. The brand had become almost as run down as some of its restaurants and the future of the company has been thrown in to serious doubt. That said, are we about to see a turn around in fortunes after this programme?

Over the course of the series which ran for three hour long episodes this week Heston fought with the CEO to rework the menu and redesign the whole look and feel of the Popham restaurant. So what was the end result? A smaller and better thought out menu, an attractive re-design of a tired restaurant and a three hour PR masterstroke.

All of a sudden people were talking about Little Chef up and down the country. The wife and I even took a drive down to Popham on Saturday to sit in a queue for an hour and 45 minutes for a table in the restaurant. Something I never thought I would ever do at a Little Chef – and probably won’t ever do again. But, we weren’t the only ones caught up with the excitement as the queue time suggests – even David Tennant (Dr Who) stuck his head in to try and grab something to eat but balked at the wait and legged it with his mates.

All good fun, but what was the reason for this level of interest? Simple. Instead of this being a simple story about Little Chef revamping its menu the programme added a little drama and human interest. All companies thinking of running a campaign or new launch should take this on board.

People are not interested in your brand or your latest product. Harsh but ultimately true I’m afraid. To get them interested you need make your story newsworthy with the following components – fear, nostalgia, envy, human interest. For more information on how your company can do this why not download this free guide from Berkeley PR.

P.S. The food was great and yes we are incredibly sad for waiting that long.

  • The Red Rocket

    I can’t believe you waited more than five minutes to eat at Little Thief, let alone 1.45! Agree with your points though…. I wonder what they’re doing online to make the most of the campaign…?

  • paulstallard

    Ha ha ha – never again but I have to say that the food was alright. I have had a look at their site and they don’t seem to be making the most of the situation which is a real shame.

  • Jo Baker

    Good huh….Tim went there for dinner the other night, really liked it. I have to say I think the CEO of little chef is a bit of a !%~>*&%!! I also think that Heston was the wrong chef to do it but it was very entertaining all the same and created lots of interest…don’t think I’d be that happy if I was Heston though.

    Never really understood snail porridge.