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September Newsletter

Hello Everyone!

Happy September? Click on the link here! Get on your dancing shoes and read this newsletter while you sway to one of my absolute favorite songs that celebrates a month we love here at AF&Co. It’s September!!

But brace yourselves – I haven’t always loved September. For me, going back to school and leaving my days of summer behind was always a challenge. It was mentally exhausting. Let me take you back…

Picture it. Westmount Swim Club: the huge pool, the diving boards, the lifeguards, and so much more. I truly thought I was like Sandy in Grease and had picked out many Danny Zukows to fall in love with throughout each season – though they had no idea. I was touched by the sun and in love with life.

My mom would take me and my brother Ricky up to the club every day about 1pm and we were free to do our thing till 6. I was a little chubby Jewish kid running around in a bathing suit that was always a tad too snug (somehow I demonstrated the art of how to show just enough ass crack.) My group of pals got busy every day playing water tag, Marco Polo, and red Light/green Light. There were sunset movies, lots of BBQs, and the big camp show (of which I was always the star – of course).

One of my favorite summer memories was how my mom would step into the pool insistent not to wet the hairdo that Mr. Frank, her beautician, had created for her that week. She would dunk herself in and out and exclaim to all, “Isn’t the water delicious today!” Summer meant freedom!! Summer meant hot dogs. Summer meant no rules. Summer meant lovin’ and I had me a blast.

Then Labor Day crept up…and sadly all of us kids became depressed. Back to life, back to reality, and well, back to school, rules, shoes, and studying. It always took me a good few weeks to embrace September.

Now that I am an adult (no comments please), I actually can’t wait for September to hit. It means parties, big openings, great events, Dancing with the Stars (no comments please), and so much more.

So here’s to a new season that kicks off now. Read on for a wonderful newsletter filled with some wonderful summer memories, new happenings, and some incredible secret recipes just for you.

See you soon and often I hope!!!

Sealed with a summer kiss –

Andrew

PS – We couldn’t be prouder of our client Bluestem Brasserie who recently achieved a three-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle’s food critic Michael Bauer. Being lucky enough to work with this amazing team of professionals and knowing how the five-year-old restaurant has strived for continuous improvement, I can say there is no one more deserving of these accolades. Stacy and Adam – you are my heroes.

You Gotta Be Memorable

We’re taking you back to 1995 when Des’ree taught us all that “You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser.” We’re going to say that in today’s crazy competitive restaurant world, you gotta be all these things plus…you must be memorable.

Be memorable. Such a simple concept and, yet, it’s so easy to forget how important it is. With so much competition out there, it’s not just a nice idea. It’s not optional. You must state it as your concept’s goal at every phase from the moment you first decide you are going to open a new concept all the way through your on-going marketing plan.

While the long-term goal of any successful restaurant should be sales, it’s becoming increasingly more important to create relationships with people through clear brand identity and consistent brand marketing.  People want to feel like they are connected to the brands they use, the restaurants the frequent, the hotels they choose. They want a story, and brand marketing that is memorable can be a way to fill that need.

If you are developing a new concept, you must constantly ask yourself: How are will we stand out from the crowd? How will we be better and different? What is going to keep them coming back for more?

As you develop marketing and promotions for your hotel or restaurant, keep going back to those questions.

Here’s a few more ideas to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t always focus on the direct sell. Are you constantly hitting your email database or social media fans with special pricing or happy hour promos? Not every piece of marketing has to be tied directly back to sales. It’s like that friend who only calls you when she needs something. Pretty soon you start to delete her emails and hit “decline” on her calls.
  2. Make them laugh. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Even if you are a serious restaurant, there’s always an opportunity to show a fun side of your concept. (Let’s face it, people want to have fun when they go out!)
  3. Teach them something. Take people on a journey. Whether it’s a recipe or the details behind a special menu, tell the story of what went into creating the experience you are offering.
  4. Inspire them. Think big. Are you making the world a better place through your charitable efforts? Are you changing the way people think about dining, about a certain cuisine or are you simply giving people a place to make amazing everyday memories?  Don’t be afraid to show your passion for what you are doing. Passion is contagious.

Your ultimate goal should be to let people know who you are, so that when the time comes to choose a restaurant or book a hotel, they remember you.

 

Written by: Andrew Freeman & Co.  A high-energy hospitality consulting firm with a unique blend of expertise in marketing, publicity and creative services. The AF&Co team will do whatever it takes to build awareness for clients and ultimately increase sales. AF&Co offers tailored, flexible programs that include: creative/concept development, branding, recruiting, graphic design, public relations, sales/marketing, training, event management, and more depending on the clients’ needs. The AF&Co team is creative, direct and fun, and focuses on the areas that they are passionate about: restaurants and beverages, travel and hotels, and lifestyle personalities and products. For more information, visit afandco.com or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

August Newsletter

DIVAS UNITE!
Hola All –

As I write this opening, I am on a plane headed to one to of my favorite places on earth: Puerto Vallarta.  And man oh man do I need this break. It’s been an extraordinary month of happenings – on the professional and personal front. You will read all about the professional news below, so if you’ll indulge me, I am going to share some of my highlights from the last month. Grab a cocktail – this is going to get juicy.

Two words – Miss Ross. Two more words – J- LO. Two more words – Barbra Streisand. Can you stand it?

It was a decadent, delicious DIVA fest and this DIVA got to live every minute of it. Seriously, is this not the DIVA trifecta? Yes, read it and swoon – I got to see Diana, Jennifer and Babs all in one month. I know you straight guys are rolling your eyes – get over it. Let me tell you a little about each —

Will start with Diana. It was under the stars at Wente Vineyards, truly the most gorgeous place on earth to take in a concert with a great dinner. It was a bit chilly, but Diana was hotter than hot. It was a supreme moment (get it?) in my life, and Miss Ross delivered a show filled with her hits. She was in great voice and I woke up the next morning with a love hangover (get it again?).

Next up – off to Vegas Baby with my boys. It was a 115 degrees but we acted like royalty, thanks to my wonderful Gary at MGM Resorts. He hooked us up with amazing rooms at ARIA. Though I sat by the pool and hit the spa, I truly couldn’t contain my excitement for the main reason of my visit – to see my girl Jennifer Lopez’s Vegas show. For those of you who know me well, I have had a crush on Miss Lopez for as long as I can remember. She can dance, she can sing, and she can act (no comments please). Who didn’t love her in The Wedding Planner or Maid in Manhattan? Anyway, back to the show. We arrived and settled into our great seats. There was a major buzz in the crowd as we discovered it was Jennifer’s birthday that night and the crowd was star-studded. Have you heard of someone named Kim Kardashian? The curtain went up and for the next two hours we danced, we sang, and danced some more. This show is Vegas on steroids; when she did Jenny From The Block I thought my head was going to explode I was so into it.

Any visit to Las Vegas must include this show – trust me. As for me and Jenny, I would totally consider batting for the other team again (read between the lines) if she wanted to date me. J-LO I love you. Call me.

And now for the grand DIVA moment of the year – a night with the legendary Barbra Streisand. And what a night it was. It’s my best gal pal Linda’s birthday, and seeing Barbra was on her bucket list. I don’t want to brag, but I had seen her twice before – so off we went to San Jose (that’s a shlep). The arena was filled with Jews, Gays, and older folks (JGOF). We took our seats and then the magic happened. For the next three hours, Miss Streisand (aka Mrs. James Brolin) did not let us down. At 74, she looks fantastic and sounds even better. The show was autobiographical, and she performed a song from every one of her albums. I also happened to love how she held nothing back about her disgust for Mr. Trump. She ended with Don’t Rain on My Parade and Happy Days Are Here Again, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I know this sounds a bit dramatic, but the night was life-changing. Like Buttah!

So that’s it – my DIVA fest in a nutshell. Meanwhile back at the ranch, AF&Co. was cooking. I truly can’t thank our team enough for getting us through one of the most exciting and crazy months ever – and there is still so much more to come. Read on for all the details. More openings, Eat Drink SF, recipes, a Beast-BQ dinner, and other wonderful happenings.

Adios and love,

Andrew
PS – I also wanted to say thank you for the amazing support that many of you showed for my best friend, Stuart. As I shared on Facebook, Stuart received the devastating news that he has cancer of the tonsil/throat. He has since started his surgeries and treatment plan, and my plan is to be right by his side until he is cured. Before the news hit, Stuart was planning a big life change, so he gave up his job and apartment and was getting ready to move. Since this diagnosis came as such a shock, he was unprepared to deal with the financial implications of life (even with insurance), so we started a Go Fund Me page and the outpouring of love and generosity was truly epic. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED. And – if you haven’t – please consider doing so; it will mean to world to Stuart and to me as well.  www.gofundme.com/stuarthicks

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