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January 1, 2013

Trade Talks looks at branding in the world of the ever changing restaurateur
By Kristen Oliveri

Photo courtesy of Bullfrog & Baum

In a world where you’re nobody until you’re on TV or have become a social media sensation, keeping street cred amongst chef peers while satisfying diners’ need for celebrity chef status that validates and/or enhances their experience in your restaurant(s) is no easy feat.

What is easy is to get lost in the shuffle if you don’t hone your business to create a brand with mass appeal that resonates in the market.

At How to Build Your Brand Without Selling Out at Trade Talks 2012, a program conceived of and hosted by hospitality PR firm Bullfrog & Baum (, in conjunction with the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival (, chefs Daniel Boulud, David Burke, Marc Murphy and John Kunkel talked candidly about the world of endorsements, product lines and the dreaded chain restaurant.

Daniel Boulud, co-owner of the Dinex Group and the chef who most recently opened a restaurant in Toronto, is no stranger to building a brand. “One more is always too many,” began Boulud. He explained that his approach to creating a cohesive and recognizable brand was to name all of his restaurants with his name in the title. While his name is front and center when you call for a reservation the reality of any given dining experience is predicated upon the fact that he crafts each one to be chef-driven with each chef he employs to be totally responsible for managing that individual restaurant.

“I am the brand,” he comments. However, while he understands the need for consistent branding in titles and restaurants, Boulud also recognizes that Continue Reading…



August 23, 2010

Hitting the right note with a restaurant playlist
By Patrick O’Neill

Photo Courtesy of The Breakers

It’s often the first thing people notice when they walk into a restaurant or bar, sometimes before they walk in. Yet for many eating establishments, it’s the last thing on their impress-the-customer list, if it makes the list at all. It’s the music.

One of the worst things a new restaurant can do, says Lori Hon, President and Co-Founder of Gray V (, which curates music for restaurants, hotels and retailers, is waiting until the last minute to focus on the music. “Many people think they’ll do it themselves. Then they get very busy and realize it’s not a good idea.”

Allowing only a couple weeks for the task not only makes it harder to put together an appropriate playlist, it leaves little time for logistics, like deciding what type of sound system to use and where to discreetly place the speakers for maximum effect.

For most successful restaurateurs, music is part of the planning process from day one and considered a crucial element in defining the restaurant. “The audio helps set the stage,” says Patric Yumul, Vice President of Operations for the Michael Mina Group (,

Photo Courtesy of The Mina Group

Continue Reading…