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Welcome to my foodie blog!

February 16, 2011

 

Being a foodie was sort of passed down to me by my parents.  Unlike most 5 year olds, I preferred sushi to hot dogs any day.  You may think, “weird”, right?  Well…YES, but I have my parents to thank for teaching me their the passion for cooking, trying new restaurants and all things food related.

In this foodie blog, I will be posting my thoughts, recipes, restaurant picks and most importantly, iSpy posts regarding the public relations tactics that chefs, restaurants and the food industry are using to help share the foodie culture that I adore so much.

So go on…dig in!

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Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants celebrates 30 years of care

April 19, 2011

April 1st marked the big 3-0 for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants.  The San Francisco-based collection of unique restaurants and hotels, known for gold fish and hula hoops for guests in their rooms, is celebrating 30 years of hospitality with a number of birthday-themed promotions, perks and events throughout the month of April.

Kimpton’s WRITE Here, RIGHT Now contest invites Kimpton Facebook fans to tell their favorite birthday memory in a poem, haiku, sonnet or rhyme, along with a photo. The top 30 submissions, selected by Facebook fans and a panel of judges will win a one-night stay at any Kimpton hotel.  Contestants will get bonus points if they are able to write the story in 30 words or less, in honor of its 30 years of care.  The contest will run from April 1- April 30, and is sure to create a buzz around the boutique hotel and chef-driven restaurant chain.

Guests at Kimpton were invited to toast the brand’s 30 year anniversaryon April 1st by extending its signature wine hour for a 2 hour celebration complete with complimentary cupcakes and special wine selections.

The chain is also offering a complimentary extra 30 minutes added to a 50 minute in-room massage throughout the month of April.  Guests are invited to cash in on this perk by mentioning the codename “30th Birthday”

when booking their massage.

Further, to encourage travelers to indulge in KimtonStyle, from April 1-14,Kimpton offered a 30% discount on all purchases.

Would you want to participate in Kimpton’s 30th birthday celebration?

Do you think this campaign will generate ROI for the company?

Starbucks launches new, controversial logo

March 30, 2011

Starbucks has launched a fresh, wordless logo this spring. The company decided on its 4th and newest logo after looking at companies like Nike Inc. and Apple Inc., which had earned the clout with consumers to drop the words from their logos and decided to drop the company’s name and “coffee” from the logo altogether.

This bold change has been met with a lot of controversy.  Within hours of the new logo, fans were commenting on the Starbucks web site and social media outlets.  One fan said, “Removing the Starbucks name off your logo does not make any sense. I have been a big supporter of Starbucks since the early days, taken expensive rides in taxis to get my morning coffee, even waded through two feet of snow in my business suit. I do not see the logic of your business development folks. Free advertisement on every cup, every day. Think about it.”

However, Starbucks and its CEO, Howard Shultz, are sticking behind the new logo.  “What is really important here is an evolutionary refinement of the logo, which is a mirror image of the strategy,” said Schultz.  “This is not just, let’s wake up one day and change our logo.”

The company feels that its prior logos built Starbucks into one of the wold’s best recognized brands, and feels that it no longer needs to reinforce its name everywhere.  Starbucks feels its fresh logo will help the company expand beyond coffee and into more international markets and marketing professionals agree.  “The brand is now evolving to a point where the coffee association is too confining and restrictive,” said John Quelch, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School. “Starbucks is fundamentally selling an experience, but by no means is coffee the only part of the experience. It is important that they not have a logo that is too confining.”

What do you think of Starbucks new logo?  Do you think it will stick?

Food with Integrity

March 2, 2011

Chipotle Mexican Grill, a national chain of burrito restaurants, launched a new strategic communications campaign integrating their website, advertising and packaging to educate customers about Chipotle’s core vision- Food with Integrity.

According to Brian Rice, a reporter for Business 2 Community, Chipotle’s new campaign “aims to call attention to Chipotle’s use of premium quality ingredients from more sustainable sources and their commitment to providing food the tastes good and is healthier for its customers”.

CMO of Chipotle, Mark Crumpaker, said “We think the time is right to focus more of our marketing on our commitment to finding the best sustainably raised ingredients we can.  While we have never sourced these ingredients to be a marketing platform, it is what makes Chipotle so different from other restaurant companies and we think people are more receptive to hearing it now than ever before”.

Chipotle teamed up with San-Francisco’s award-winning design and strategy firm, Sequence, to redesign the website and the packaging to communicate the Food with Integrity motto.  “We wanted to find a design style that could strike a balance between information and entertainment,” said Ann Tou, design director at Sequence. “This allows us to tell the Chipotle story with a unique voice and in a personal style that speaks to the passion of Chipotle customers.”

In addition to the new packaging, website and advertising integrated campaign, Chipotle’s founder, chairman and co-CEO Steve Ells has signed on as an investor and judge for NBC’s new reality television show, “America’s Next Great Restaurant”.  To go along with this Chipotle launched a promotion with the help of the new show.  If a facebook user “likes” the “America’s Next great Restaurant” facebook fan page and watches a preview of the new series, they receive a buy on get on free coupon for a Chipotle burrito, salad or burrito bowl.

Chipotle also launched a “Unlimited Time Only” marketing program on March 1st to celebrate the 18th anniversary of its focus on using high quality ingredients, Food with Integrity, by wrapping its burritos in gold.  The campaign began March 1st and will continue 4 months of Chipotle’s iconic silver burritos now wrapped in gold.  This promotion will only further promote Chipotle’s Food with Integrity company vision.

Cast Your Vote for The People’s Best New Chef

February 16, 2011

Food & Wine Magazine opened its polls today for The People’s Best New Chef. F&W names Americas genius up and coming chefs every year, but now they want to know what the rest of us think!  The winner of The 2011 People’s Best New Chef will be featured in F&W along side of the Best New Chef Awards (click here to see last year’s winners).

Voting will run from today, February 15-March 1 via an online poll on CNN’s food section, Eatocracy.  Voters can pick from a selection of 100 pre-selected chefs from across the nation (the chef needs to have run their own kitchens for 5 years or fewer).  One of the chefs included in theSoutheast region is a chef I had the opportunity to work for over the summer, Chef Bryan Emperor.  (You know who I will be casting my vote for!)

The chef with the most votes from each of the 10 regions will be named a finalist and the chef with the most votes overall will be named The 2011 People’s Best New Chef and win a feature in the July 2011 issue of Food & Wine. Winning the competition will certainly boost the publicity of the winning chef and attendance at their restaurant is bound to soar.  Talk about great PR!

Even before voting began today, many chefs in the running had been already spreading the word and encouraging their fans to vote via Twitter and Facebook.  F&W and Eatocracy further promoted the competition with ads on their websites as well as Social Networking sites.  Foodie bloggers and local, smaller news mediums have picked up the story and also begun spreading the word.

Cast your vote and view full profiles of all the talented chefs!

So…Who will you be voting for?  Who do you predict will win?