A conversation with Ellen Malloy
BY LAURA TAXEL
hen Ellen Malloy started handling public relations for
restaurants 18 years ago, she wrote and mailed press releases,
assembled elaborate press kits to pass out at events, and acted as a go-
between, working her editor and journalist contacts on behalf of her clients. Not anymore.
Responding to the digital revolution, in 2007 she launched Restaurant Intelligence Agency
(RIA), based in Chicago, to make information available online.
Instead of pitching ideas and hoping someone would bite, she saw a better way: provide
easy access to everything writers needed for the stories they were pursuing. Then she
and her team went a step further, developing groundbreaking proprietary software that
fundamentally changes the game. Launched last year, it supports a virtual space where,
for a monthly fee, chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers and mixologists can create content and
interact with media pros, the dining public and each other.
Malloy’s approach to PR reflects the qualities that define this era of 24/7 connectivity
through technology—personal, engaged, immediate, networked and free-flowing. But
everyone can participate through blogs and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter
and Yelp, to name just a few. She’s an enthusiastic user of these tools and strongly
encourages chefs to take advantage of the opportunities they offer. She shares some
insights on the value and the challenges of the new communication platforms and advice
about how to make them your own.