There’s No Business Like The Restaurant Business!

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Sing Out Andrew – IHad A Dream!

Growing up, Ialways had a zest for drama (on stage and off). Iwas known for my over-the-top musical productions that Iconceived, casted and directed – right on the front porch of my house. I reveled in choreographing dances, designing sets, providing direction to my cast, and, of course, being the star. My love of the stage has been with me since; throughout college Iperformed in just about every community theater musical in the area. Just name a show tune and Ican sing all the lyrics! Like many other aspiring actors, I got a job waiting tables to keep things going, and it was at my first restaurant job that Irealized the show business of the restaurant business – and my love for directing took a new direction.

As a restaurant and hospitality consultant, Iam essentially the restaurant’s creative director. And I love what I do. With established restaurants, our role is to keep the production current and relevant, drawing in the crowds and giving people reasons to keep coming back for more.

With new restaurants, we do everything from concept development to naming and designing the whole collateral package. We work with the team and the chef on menu development, design of the room and recruiting the talent. Ultimately, our clients count on our criticism and direction to ensure great reviews and stranding room only crowds.

There are countless things to consider before a restaurant opens, and it seems there are just as many “missed cues” along the way. Our role is to keep the production on schedule, the rehearsals going strong – and to make sure that everything comes together for the big launch.

Then comes my favorite time with every new restaurant – Opening Night! If we have done our job well, the anticipation is intense. The curtains go up – and the world gets to see everyone’s hard work – and Iget to wear a fabulous suit (wait, that’s another story). Restaurant openings are an exciting, though stressful, part of my job. Everything we have done up to that point is now in the hands of our clients. It is up to the chefs, owners, and their staffs to become the real stars of their shows and to wow their audiences.

Of course, my work continues after opening night. It is my job to keep the rooms full and to give every restaurant the best opportunity to become a long running success. We do this by working with our clients to custom create strategic marketing and public relations campaigns that keep their restaurants top of mind and relevant to the media, to their loyal guests, and to new guests eager to try something exciting.

“Razzle Dazzle them and they’ll make you a star!”Simple advice for my clients from a long career in theater.

About The Author

Prior to opening Andrew Freeman & Co., a full service boutique consulting agency specializing in hospitality and restaurants in 2007, Andrew started his career working with several legendary New York venues including The Rainbow Room, The Russian Tea Room and Windows on The World. In addition to running the day to day marketing/public relations activities at these famed New York restaurants, Andrew was also responsible for the creation and management of their special events and catering departments. At all three venues, he also launched and then oversaw successful outside catering businesses. Andrew left New York in 1997 and departed for San Francisco to join Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. He spent ten years with Kimpton, launching over 40 hotels and restaurants as well as the global brand. For his first five years with the company, Andrew was first Director and then Vice President of Restaurant Sales and Marketing. In this role, he worked with the restaurant team on the creation, launch activities and marketing/public relations programs for the group’s chef driven restaurant concepts and private dining venues. He was then promoted to Vice President of Public Relations and Strategic Partnerships for both the hotel and restaurant divisions. In this role, Andrew was responsible for strategic development and execution of all public and media relations activities. During his tenure Andrew also spearheaded several programs with industry and community partners including Kimpton Cares, a social responsibility program and Kimpton Hotels LGBT travel program which has garnered numerous awards and positioned Kimpton as one of the Top Companies for LGBT employment. Andrew also contributed to the launch of Kimpton’s highly successful Women in Touch program which became the spring-board for their national partnership with Dress for Success, an organization which helps low-income women enter the workforce and excel in their new jobs. Today, Andrew Freeman & Co. is busy consulting hotel clients, Hotel Shattuck Plaza, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, The Lodge at Sonoma, The River Terrace Inn, and Bay Area restaurant clients, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, Barbacco, Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar, étoile at Domaine Chandon, ETO, Fifth Floor, Grand Café and Poggio. Andrew Freeman & Co. is also proud to be an intricate part of SF.Chefs.Food.Wine a food and wine event that celebrates the unique flavor, diversity and bounty of Northern California. The annual event incorporates tasting tents, classes, seminars and an array of activities while supporting local charities such as the San Francisco Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, The Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Foundation and Project Open Hand. Andrew is honored to have also worked with JW Marriott/Marriott, Larkspur Hotels, Magnolia Bakery, Personality Hotels, the Palm Restaurant Group, and W Hotels. In 2009, Andrew Freeman & Co. launched a New York City office and is proudly serving clients including Pranna, Incentient and David Burke Restaurant Group. Andrew also works with a variety of clients on sales and service training, as well as concept development and operations refinement.

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