Sitting at the Chefs Table the other night at The Chiltern Firehouse, that doyenne of celebrity exclusivity, I wondered how I got here.
I thought that reservations here were organised by demanding executive assistants, months in advance and that the best tables were allocated on recognition of Hello! photos (or don’t I mean Instagram accounts…).
Has the Firehouse lost its cache when the (very) ordinary person like me can make a half-hearted attempt at a reservation for later that day, expecting to be laughed out of the gold plated reservations centre, and secure a premium spot overlooking the action, just a few hours later?
Or perhaps the celebrities are still holed up in their Cotswold barn conversions. That’s certainly where I saw David, Victoria and family a couple of weeks ago… at their reserved table in my un-reservable local pub (while I had to dine on a stool).
This got me thinking about hype vs. hot vs. not and what was good for our industry. We all know we need to have a strong marketing plan to launch a new venture and PR makes sure the influencers can pass the message on, but when does marketing ‘miss the mark’?
I see it in Dubai, where our business has been established for over 20 years. The buzz around a new restaurant is a stampede that would match any Serengeti migration and then just a few short months later these celebrated venues are brushing the dust and tumbleweed out of their over invested interior designs.
Yes, some of these businesses lack substance and integrity and only show a veneer of desirability – how dusky pink and flower strewn their photos look – a restaurant tinder, if you like. But many others are from long formed dreams, well planned and executed with robust offers in good locations… until they ‘arrive’.