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Five Star Restaurant PR

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If you want to learn the essential elements of successful public relations, you might want to have dinner at Tersiguel’s (http://www.tersiguels.com).
Tersiguel’s, as connoisseurs of fine cuisine can tell you, is a French restaurant located on Main Street in historic Ellicott City, MD (http://www.ellicottcity.net). I had dinner there this past Sunday with one of my Broadwayworld.com theater reviewers (I oversee the Baltimore/MD domain for this site) to discuss her next critique.
Tersiguel’s just overflows with wonderful examples of PR. Really. And do I think about PR too much? Probably, yeah.
Anyway, Tersiguel’s is located in a 19th century home, so your very first impression of the place is that it is very “old school.” However, in dining, it’s clear the menu has many “new school” elements with nods to local traditions, such as seafood special appetizer that features a sprinkling of Baltimore’s renowned “Old Bay” seasoning, and modern promotional methods (I used a Groupon for a dinner for two, so Tersiguel’s relies on word of mouth (old) and online promotional methods (new) as well).
In PR, you want to blend the “old school” with the “new school.” That means, you still visit local newspapers, TV and radio stations and shake the hands of the reporters and editors you are or will be working with…and also make sure you have a strong online presence as in social media, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, etc. And as we in PR know, being mindful of local customs and traditions is important when developing angles for media pitches.
Then, there’s a “no brainer”—customer service. At Tersiguel’s, the wait staff are erudite, polite, and very interested in any questions or concerns you may have about the menu, the wines, the cocktails, how foods are prepared, etc.
As we in PR know, a good visual goes a long way…and in this case, there are multiple good visuals…from the artwork to the intimate surroundings to certain dishes cooked “tableside” (as in the case of the mix of three meats—steak, lamb and pork belly…a kind of French nod to “bacon”—that were seared on a small portable cooker at my table), there’s much to see as well as taste.
Tersiguel’s is also a favorite for couples enjoying anniversaries (it was Easter Sunday afterall), so you never know who might run into…in my case, I had an unexpected encounter with a local TV producer with whom I’ve worked for many years, her fiancée and her family. So yes, there may even be an opportunity to NETWORK in the dining room…because in PR, you know it’s all about building and maintaining beneficial relationships!
I’m always amazed when I think about how important “the little things” are to media. For example, I had a TV producer tell me once that the number one deterrent to whether her station would cover an event was…PARKING. Well, if your location is difficult to get to and there’s no place to park the TV news van, such “dissatisfiers” can play a role in media deciding to cover somebody else’s event.
Happily Tersiguel’s is located directly next to a free open-air parking lot. Well, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
In PR, no matter how creative you may be, if your product is lousy, no campaign will save it. As the saying goes, “you’ve got to have the goods.” And when it comes to good food, yeah, Tersiguel’s has the goods. My dinner companion and I rated our meal among the “top five” in our LIVES…the subtlety of flavors, no one thing overbearing the others, whether vegetable, meat or fish, cooked and seasoned in such a way as to allow the gourmand to detect a whole variety of flavors.
As I tell my PR students, it’s a good idea to have an “intangible” or two to share when holding a news conference, something special for the media to see and experience beyond folks standing at a podium or a powerpoint presentation. At Tersiguel’s, we enjoyed a very pleasant intangible as well.
Our waiter shared with us that Tersiguel’s bakes its own French bread loaves three times a week, including Sundays…and if we were interested, the loaves are available for sale. Turned out my companion’s mother finds French bread a particular treat, so we purchased two large rolls.
It’s interesting just how pervasive PR is when you think about it. And not just in the “obvious places,” but in everyday experiences…like a dinner at top-flight French restaurant. And that’s one to grow on.

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