Britney, Whitney, Mariah and More: Divas Inspire Change, Creativity and Originality


In my next life I’ll be a pop princess. I have the moves. I know the songs. I even know how to market and re-invent myself when I need to –and I know how to apply this knowledge to help my restaurant clients.

Look to the divas for the ultimate lesson in marketing. They use their talent, music and style to market to appeal to the masses. Madonna and Lady Gaga huge popularity because they take risks and adapt accordingly.

Just like our favorite Divas – restaurants that take chances, have style and know how to adapt make it. For a more practical application — music is an integral part of the restaurant experience. It sets the vibe and help conveys the concept. Savvy operators use music as a tool to set the mood. Is it a hip, trendy, Lady Gaga kind of place? Is it classic, jazzy, Diana Krall supper club? Does the refined French food and classy environment call for a little Edith Piaf? Or perhaps it’s a fast casual place that blasts for some good old rock & roll.

With the best performers –their styles convey their success. Restaurants are the same. The music in a high pace place can literally vibrate and create energy in the room. For the more refined place, the music should be the background to the buzz in the dining room. Amp the volume, amp the excitement (and attract a younger demographic,) but crank it too loud and it can frustrate guests — which can be detrimental to sales. With music alone, management can encourage guests to linger or leave depending on the tempo and the volume.

Finally, a restaurant’s music should not conflict with the concept. I know a serene Japanese restaurant specializing in sushi that plays show tunes …. it’s confusing. In fact, I advise all of my clients to develop customized playlists. We use music all the time to attract the right clientele and build excitement.

Whether it’s New York, New York, Like A Virgin, Poker Face or Hit Me Baby One More Time – the tunes can make or break the restaurant experience. We can look to our Divas for inspiration!

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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