Dear Andy: You Gotta Be Memorable

Dear Andy

A column dedicated to fielding industry questions from owners and operators.  This is the first installment of a monthly column from Andrew Freeman, president of San Francisco-based AF&Co. Hospitality Consultants.  Have a question? Email or post a message on facebook.

You Gotta Be Memorable

Dear Andy: You Gotta Be MemorableWe’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.

 Dear Andy: You Gotta Be MemorableWritten 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 or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.