"We are all in this humans race together and it's our job to make sure we all cross the finish line as one."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You're Hired! Celebrity Apprentice Meets Cafe Metro

This week my company had the unique opportunity to be involved with one of the biggest “reality” TV shows out there, The Celebrity Apprentice, Sunday’s at 9pm on NBC-TV.
I’m the Director of Marketing and Social Media for Café Metro’s parent company S.T. Management Group here in the quiet little hamlet of New York City and being a part of the local, social and media outlets is no strange concept to us. However, being on a national TV show is A LOT different than being mentioned in local blogs, papers and on the lips of the homeless we feed.
Let me just say this…If you can get affiliated with a media outlet like a radio, TV or film production crew…DO IT! I’m going to shatter the 3 bullet point rule here and give you some tips as to how to make it work. Grab your crayons, here we go:
- We had a connection with the Celeb Apprentice via another NYC based restaurant that had done it 2 seasons ago. We tossed our name in the hat and the Trump group knew who we were. There was a connect. We got the call and away we went.

- The key to our success was going to be logo placement so I had to think like a camera operator. I had to think of the places and angles that would make sense. Coming from a background at WCBS News and film I had a pretty good idea of the “if I was a logo where I would hide” game. It worked! BIG TIME! Even the production team at NBC said it was the best, most focused logo placement they ever saw! BOO-YAAH!

- The fact that the Celebrity Apprentice has its roots in charity and giving back was a HUGE thing for us. The culture of our company is about giving back to those in need and it was important that we aligned ourselves with a show that held the same philosophy as we did. Now, is that to say if our friend Teresa Giudice from “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” and her crew wanted to film at our location that we would have sicked pit bulls upon them in protest? NO! But, but it wouldn’t have the same satisfaction as knowing we made a REAL difference by being on this show other than being a set for our lovely logo and products.

- By being involved in something like this it calls for more than just the “all hands on deck” approach at the office level. You need an army! You need super soldiers from a Public Relation firm. We aligned ourselves with Morris+King, a tremendously hands on PR group here in NYC to handle the outreach for us. I’m a Marketing guy. My media rolodex is about as fat as Lindsey Lohan after a fast and furious coke filled weekend. A PR group can reach into media crevices we can’t even see. Plus they will help you keep your companies name out there while the fire’s embers are still warm from your media outing.

- Wallpaper your Facebook, Twitter and any and all social media outlets with pictures, news mentions, fan pictures, etc. Make that noise! You earned it! Our Social Media Manager, Mary O’Brian, tweeted out every photo and article mention as fast as she discovered them! (She is good! Thanks Mary!) Also, see if any media contacts you do have are able to talk about. My friend Dave Reynolds for the 99.7 Morning Show was more than happy to help us promote it through on air interviews with me. (Thanks Dave!)

Not only does it work from a business standpoint but it’s just FUN! Yes! Have fun with it! It’s a great deal of work but while it’s going on, just relax and enjoy it! I came from a TV/Film background as an actor so being around celebs was semi-normal for me. But, where else can you hang out with The Hulk, Pop princesses and Mafia Don’s daughters? Well, I am in New York so, any Starbucks or hot club really…
And So it Goes…

Miss the Episode? View it by clicking the logo to the right:
Also, follow Cafe Metro on Facebook and Twitter to see how we are handling it all!
Here is a great list of all the charities that the cast is fighting for. Check it out and see if there is a fit for your organization:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bus Boy: A Story of Being There

“Is everyone alright?”- Robert Kennedy’s Final Words

I was sitting down to write a humorous piece on customer service, the restaurant industry and bus personnel in particular. As I hit the Google images icon the famous picture of bus boy Juan Romero cradling the just shot Sen. Robert Kennedy came alive on my screen. And the words under it were the above final quote from one of the world’s last great pacifists from a turbulent time in America’s history.

The article I planned pealed itself from my mind and the moment I relived as a four year old, the image of the selfless young man and the words of one of my heroes dominated from that moment forth.

Robert’s last words summed up his life and how he lived it. He cared for others. When he himself lay mortally wounded he wanted to know the condition of those around him. He was rewarded by God, Allah, Buddha, whomever, in those final moments as well by being attended to by a stranger who cradled him and placed his rosary in Robert’s limp hand.

A bus boy and a world leader in a moment that sent out a message that still carries as strongly as it did 44 years ago on the cover of every newspaper. That we are here for each other.

Imagine if every customer service representative in the world cared as much as that young man did that day? Imagine if every human reacted as fast and as caring as he did that day. Imagine, as another great pacifist said, “all the people living for today”. Living in the moment.

Listening.          Hearing.              Engaging.

That bus boy, Juan, was there to do a job that night. He was there to bus his tables, work hard for his tips and create an experience for the dinners and guests at the Senators speech. His job that night was also to be a lasting image in history of going beyond the call of duty and answer the call of being human.

In every business, no matter what it is; restaurant, office, clothing shop, pet store, etc…There is a Juan.
In every human heart, there is a Juan.

Recently Juan, under a soft blue sky, with fall colors exploding across the velvety slopes of the cemetery that was the final resting place of Robert Kennedy, Juan wore a suit for the first time in his life. He said it was the proper way to show his respect for a man whose memory he has tried to honor by living a life of tolerance and humility.

May we all take away the same lesson from these two men's first and final meeting.

Let there be Peace. Let there be tolerance.

“Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”- RFK, April, 4th 1968 upon hearing of MLK’s assassination