Two recent dinning experiences in New York prompted me to consider how a range of subtle accents, focus, and style can capture and communicate a service “brand” with such brilliance that it’s almost magical.
Delightful meals at two of the city’s well-known restaurants reminded me of how the best messages are delivered like a great dish, combining the freshest of ingredients and the passion of good execution and timing. When the elements of fine food and seasoned preparation are combined, the results are like a good pitch or launch. People get it, almost immediately, without a lot of questions.
As an avowed foodie, I prepared for my recent trip to the city by trolling the Internet for the latest buzz on the best restaurants and asking foodie friends for recommendations. With my list in hand and great expectations in mind, I considered all the incredible options that would greet me in the city. Surely in a city of eight million any number of places would satisfy.
Fortunately, my husband and I were able to secure a reservation at Morandi, an Italian-style trattoria created by restaurateur Keith McNally. McNally is known for a range of restaurants that attracts A-list stars, but that feature is frankly just a side-show to the most simple, yet incredibly well done food. I shared an amazing first course of lemon spaghetti with my husband. What made it so great? It took the simplest of ingredients and the most basic of dishes and escalated them to a whole new level. So how do they do this? By realizing the dinning experience is a combination of a thousand unspoken messages that ultimately scream one clear message: we don’t tell you we are good, we show you how good we are, and let you decide.
The experience was repeated the next evening at Gramercy Tavern. A perennial New York favorite, my husband and I have eaten there often when visiting and have never been disappointed. Brilliant interior space with generous, but not overwhelming lighting creates an enticing ambiance, and the bar is bustling, but not so loud one has to shout. Of course, a place this good could ooze with attitude, but instead, the staff aims to accommodate requests and to educate diners. By the time the food arrives, you know it is going to be excellent.
Ultimately, good PR and brand interactions come down to executing against the many expectations a client has, most of which are not captured in talking points or presentation, but are the unspoken words that fill volumes…and our appetites.