Building Brand Love in America’s #1 Media Market – NYC – Through Culturally Relevant, Local News Stories

A fast-casual burrito restaurant chain established New York City — the largest and toughest-to-crack earned media market in the U.S. — as its top priority market for local news to help drive brand awareness and customer loyalty among residents and restaurant-goers.

Communications Strategy & Planning
Media Relations & Influencer Marketing
Multi-Unit Restaurants
2022 National Media Relations Award Finalist and Honorable Mention


Linhart PR needed to build relationships with local reporters and secure a steady cadence of positive coverage about the brand’s priority areas: 1) leadership in real food, including through new menu items and its athlete partner program, 2) easier access to the brand via new restaurants and new formats like walk-up windows, and 3) culturally relevant events, observances and partnerships impacting – and benefitting – NYC residents.


To foster go-to relationships with NYC reporters and land an average of 10 positive brand story placements per month, Linhart PR collaborated with the restaurant chain to:

  • Pitch NYC-specific stories, like celebrating an NYC marathoner who fuels up with the restaurant’s food and sharing the inspirational journeys of NYC-based employees who have worked for the company for 10+ years
  • Spread the word about new NYC restaurant openings and formats that increase access and convenience, highlighting “firsts” to drive news, like the brand’s first walk-up window (which allows guests to pick up digital orders from a street-wide window) in Queens
  • Share culturally relevant, buzzworthy national marketing programs, like the partnership that triggered a donation to a musician’s foundation every time someone ordered his signature bowl; a contest giving away free burritos to celebrate National Burrito Day; and gold foil-wrapped burritos and free delivery for sports fans to enjoy the restaurant’s food as they cheered on athletes who fueled up for competition with the same menu items
  • Offer new menu news early, combined with sampling, to build relationships with reporters who cover menu innovation and what’s new at restaurants


By pitching programs and stories unique to the NYC market; spreading the word about new restaurants and formats that increase access and convenience; delivering culturally relevant news that was shareable for media and fun for New Yorkers; and offering advance new menu item testing to build reporter relationships, Linhart PR secured 168 NYC news stories for the restaurant chain in one year, exceeding the goal – 10 stories per month or 120 total stories for the year – by 40%. This included stories across the five boroughs and repeat coverage from seven reporters who covered the burrito chain two times or more.

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