CULINTRO A Community for Restaurant Professionals
Culintro

Steven Hall - March 2010

Steven's connections and friendships with the press, music industry, and culinary community make Hall PR one of the most heralded and respected restaurant PR firms in New York.

In 1996, Steven created The Hall Company. The chef and restaurant clients that supported Steven to establish Hall PR, soon developed into acclaimed, established talent, making Hall PR a destination for aspiring restaurant professionals. In 2006, Steven traveled to Japan where he established strong relations in Tokyo's restaurant scene. Hall joined forces with a local PR company to create global PR campaigns and license Western concepts to Japanese restauranteurs.

Steven produces music charity events such as New York's jazz AIDS benefit, For Classical Action. Steven continues to work with multiple charities, helping to conceptualize and execute their events.

   



How long has Hall PR been around for?

Hall Company celebrated its 14th anniversary on March 16 2010

How did you launch your company? What previous experience do you have before launching Hall PR?

I’d been in the restaurant business for 10 years prior to going into PR as a server, and manager. My last job was managing the jazz club at the original location of iridium on 63 and Columbus. My personal life took a major turn around and I decided I needed a job change too. I knew Karine Bakhoum from the industry and was helping her a few days a week in her office and she asked me if I’d ever thought about going into PR full-time and I took it as my opportunity for the change I’d been looking for.

I brought a restaurant called Mad Fish into the company through the chef Keith Rennie who I knew from my days as a waiter at Arizona 206. They were a KB client for about 4 months, but I had kept in touch with them because Sam Firer was a server there, and one day they approached me about becoming their in-house publicist because they were planning on opening more restaurants, at that time the others were French Roast and Brother’s BBQ and L’Express was on deck. I refused because I knew that one day I wanted to open my own company, and I thought it was too soon, but they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: to operate my own company under their roof, and I had 4 built in clients. Sam and I decided to do the business together and when he’d go on the floor to do his shift, I went out and met with potential clients to grow the business. I will always be grateful to Simon Oren for that and I went on to open all of his restaurants since ending with the recent 5 Napkin Burger on Broadway and 84 Street.

What are tips you have for new restaurant owners?

Learn how to listen. Don’t take everything personally, and don’t hang things up in the window with scotch tape.

What are the 3 most common mistakes you see when someone wants to open up a restaurant?

Believing that no one has thought of the idea before them. Not wanting to hire a chef but creating a generic looking restaurant. Saying that downtown WILL come uptown for their restaurant.

What is your greatest PR achievement?

Being called an evil genius by eater.com

How has the industry changed with the increase of food writers and bloggers? Is it more challenging to get good press?

I could go on forever about this question. I wouldn’t say it’s more difficult to get good press because of the increase of writers and bloggers, ultimately the restaurants work speaks for itself, but I will say that certain types of bloggers hurt more than help and in my opinion they have no regard or respect for the business they are blogging about. Therefore they print inaccurate news, write it way too soon and in the long run make it harder for the restaurant to fully develop. I am not speaking about reputable people who blog. I am speaking about bloggers who are just in it to be the first to report. These days everyone is carried away with their own self importance because they are able to voice their opinions on websites and various other outlets, and as restaurant professionals we have no way of defending ourselves without sounding angry. I welcome more writers into the fold, as a publicist a freelancer is golden to us because their job is the closest to ours as far as pitching editors. The more ideas, the more placements, the merrier.

How do you see Culintro helping your business and the restaurant industry at large?

I truly believe Culintro is an organization that brings the industry together to exchange ideas and discuss issues and solutions. I see it as helping my business grow nationally and as an introduction to people who might not be familiar with my company’s work.