Ask Nicely

RoxStars

It’s a dangerous game inviting a bunch of journalists and “influencers” to your restaurant client’s press night.

Obviously you may hit pay-dirt: put together the right crowd and the right venue, and you’ll hit social media gold, with an online buzz and acres of coverage to match.

Alternatively, you might end up with a room full of freeloaders on the lash at someone else’s expense, and nothing to show for it but a large hole in the marketing budget.

That’s the gamble, though, and you have to take the rough with the smooth. Sometimes there is something to shout about and sometimes there is not, but we don’t necessarily know until we have been.

So if you are going to invite people, make it a genuine offer.

I’ve had a spate of invitations recently so couched in terms and conditions that they may as well have been drafted by the legal department of an accountancy firm, not someone in the hospitality industry. “We’d like to offer you a table for two, to include three courses from the set menu and one bottle of house wine. Tables must be vacated by 9.30pm. Please reply with your name, job title, publication and indication of proposed coverage.”

I do understand why you want to nail things down, to sort the wheat from the chaff and avoid being taken for a ride, but if you trust your guests so little to do the right thing, perhaps you are inviting the wrong crowd.

After all, you wouldn’t ask someone to a wedding and warn them not to snog the bride.