The Rivera PR Blog

Archive for the category ‘All Postings’

Sriracha. The Boss of the Hot Sauce.

Is there anything this stuff does not taste good on?  Not according to the back of the bottle, which reads:

“It is excellent in soups, sauces, pastas, pizzas, hot dogs, hamburgers, chowmein or on anything else to give it a delicious, spicy taste.”

We at our office agree with that statement, and we’re willing to eat our words (preferably with some Sriracha on them).

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DIY: Crab Fishing in San Francisco

You live in San Francisco. Crab season is open. Dating season is open year-round, so grab somebody you love and go pull one of San Francisco’s signatures out of the water with your own hands.

Here’s the best way to do it, without getting pinched by Fish and Game, or getting pinched by the crab. And hey, even if you do get a little handshake from one of the crab, you can wear that scar with pride because if you really love SF, sporting that new scar on your hand will show your admiration for our beautiful City by the Bay a lot more than that “I heart SF” t-shirt.

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Top 100 Pet Peeves of Servers – Take Your Free Online Dining Etiquette Test Now!

waiterman-600x351In a survey from several San Francisco restaurants, here are the top 100 Pet Peeves of Servers, straight from a random sampling of waiters, waitresses and bartenders. Please enjoy:

1. Patrons who wave money at us (the bartenders) with the assumption that you will go to them first. Everybody has money here, otherwise they wouldn’t have gone out!

2. Manners, manners, manners.  (Please) say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’  Just because you are paying for a meal, that does not allow you to be ill mannered.

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The Giants’ celebration, their subsequent night out and product placement

Pat Burrell is showered with Bud Light on Sunday

Pat Burrell is showered with Bud Light on Sunday

As many of us witnessed last weekend, the Giants clinched the NL West and celebrated in true fashion on national television by giving each other champagne shampoos and Budweiser baths in the team’s clubhouse.

It was great product placement for Budweiser, and it’s no surprise that Bud was the celebratory beer of “choice” — anybody who’s been to AT&T Park can tell you that a player can’t hit a ball without it sailing above a Budweiser or Bud Light advertisement.

But where did the players go to celebrate after the cameras turned off, the clubhouse closed down and the free beer stopped flowing?

Sorry kids, it wasn’t Disneyland. When our SF Giants clinched the NL West, they went to the Tipsy Pig to celebrate (read more)

The oldest living man on the planet dishes on food, prohibition, Yelp and more

Last week, 114-year old Walter Breuning — the oldest living man on the planet — was sung “Happy Birthday to You” for the 98th time at the Rainbow Senior Living Center, where he now resides.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, “Happy Birthday To You” is the most recognized song in the English language. So why did Mr. Breuning go the first 16 years of his life without hearing it?

Because the song wasn’t written until 1912 — 16 years after he was born.

This man is 16 years older than the song “Happy Birthday To You.”

Read more

To the PDA Couple: “Get an OFFICE”

Back in the good ole days, before the Smartphone invasion — when “PDA” stood for “public display of affection” — we could openly ridicule those overly expressive couples at surrounding tables for being all “lovey-dovey.”

Now, thanks to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, we’ve all morphed into mini-robots and PDA is known by most as a “personal digital assistant.” And to be honest, as much I thought I’d never say this, I’m kind of missing the old version of the PDA.  Recently I visited a café, ordered a cup of coffee with my sweetheart and got chatting. Looking around, we noticed that every single person in the café was wired, not from the caffeine, but they were physically wired: cords going from the wall into their computers, into their ears and into their Smartphone. There was ZERO conversation happening, and what was even worse is that I actually got dirty looks for speaking aloud! (read more)

Up Yours, Upsell

Our office is located in downtown Union Square, which means that I cannot even step outside to grab a coffee without being inundated by those pesky clipboard holding “volunteers” asking if I’d like to “help end hunger, save the children, support same sex marriage or save the environment.” With the exception of many downtown tourists, most of us know that these “volunteers” are in fact salespeople, and that they are commissioned by the number of signatures/donations that they collect, yet, their “sales-by-guilt techniques” are ruthless and it’s hard to say no to those questions without walking ten feet and feeling parsimonious.

Recently I had dinner at a restaurant and as the server greeted our table, he asked: “Would you like bottled water, or is JUST tap water fine?” Maybe I was overly sensitive because I spent the earlier part of the day having to say no to “saving the children/environment,” but I couldn’t help but feel like I was being tactlessly upsold. When the server left the table, I joked to my dining companion, “what’s next, is he going to try and sell me a warranty on my entrée in case I don’t like it?” (read more)

Sending back dishes: In(comp)etent, (comp)licated or (comp)letely crazy?

Most likely everybody reading this has purchased an item which they later returned, whether because of buyer’s remorse or because those jeans looked much better when the pushy salesperson convinced you that your size 2 ass looked great in that size 0 pair of denim.

Sure, this makes sense in a retail industry; after all, even an automobile with a few miles on it can be returned and still be driven by somebody else, but what about in the service/hospitality industry? What are the guidelines for sending back a dish or beverage that you simply didn’t like? Should the restaurant eat the cost of a guest’s poor ordering decision, or should the guest just eat the dish?

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Traits of the Toques: A Celebrity Chef Quiz

Click here to read entire entry on the SF Chronicle’s Inside Scoop Website..


How to open “MY restaurant” in 450 Yelps or less: The many vendors needed for a restaurant

Click here to read entire entry on the SF Chronicle’s Inside Scoop Website..

How to open “MY restaurant” in 450 Yelps or less: The many vendors needed for a restaurant

Social Media promotions that actually worked

Click here to read entire blog entry on the SF Chronicle’s Inside Scoop Website


Lets Face(book) It, You(tube) Are What You (Tw)eat. Lord Yelp me.

I know it’s been a while since my last blog posting, but it’s only because I’ve been trying to balance out my “Social” life with my work life. Social Media life that is.

PR is becoming a pretty interesting industry with all the new media channels emerging. As a business owner, it’s vital that we stay up on these channels, even if that means completely sacrificing your privacy and letting people know where you are at almost every second of the day – I need a vacation.

So in the event that I take another week long hiatus from posting on this blog, don’t fret because now you can “Fan” us on Facebook for invites and photos to our events, “Follow” us on our Twitter page for industry insight into San Francisco’s restaurant world or check out our YouTube profile for videos of our clients.

The worst part about this Social Media era is that my Grandmother is emailing me now, which means she’s not snail-mailing me letters with those delicious stale sticks of gum in the cards anymore. That’s the real bummer.

Black is the new Green

Off_SwitchIt’s peculiar to me that Earth gives us humans all it can for 365-days a year, and in return, we give it only 1 back.  Happy Earth Day.

This year I’m throwing Mother Earth a 5-day birthday party (like all the women in my life are accustomed to getting).  Last night before going to bed, I flipped my circuit breakers to the OFF position and won’t be turning them back ON until Tuesday morning; 5-full days of being totally powerless.

Luckily my work keeps me out of the house for the majority of the day, so by the time I get home at night it’s usually lights-out for me anyway.  This morning I woke up to natural light, which was nice, but natural light does not heat up water and didn’t make the cold shower that I had to take any warmer.  The cold water did however cut my shower time down by 75%, which meant less water used and more time to grab a healthy breakfast.

That was a lie; the truth is that I tried unsuccessfully to microwave a left over burrito before remembering that I was undergoing a 5-day self-induced blackout.  How I ended up with the yogurt and fruit isn’t important, the point is that I sacrificed my potentially morning ending burrito breakfast for it and I feel a lot better at this very moment.

I feel like an Urban version of Emile Hirsch from Into the Wild, especially when I was in the shower this morning where I almost froze to death.  Wish me luck on this journey; I’ll be posting notes along the way on our Facebook page.

Sustainable Sex?

ssIt appears as if those giant adult vibrators are presenting a bigger problem than just giving us men lifelong inferior penis complexes; seems they’re also filling our landfills (I think you can fit about 4 of those things in one landfill- right?)

Either that, or this company has decided to use “Sustainable,” the marketing buzzword of the 21st Century, to launch its new line of sex toys.

I fall in two directions on this matter; the restaurant publicist side of me is happy to see that SF menus are no longer solely being picked on.  “We strive to use sustainable produce whenever possible” is a tagline you’ll find on 90% of menus these days- despite the reality of where some of these restaurants are actually sourcing their product from.

Then there’s the other side of me that wonders how in a City with the highest population of HIV are we feeling that shifting the message from “protecting ones self” to “protecting the environment” is going to speak to the consumer?

Either way, I can’t help but remember that ever-so-awkward talk that any of us with a single X Chromosome has surely had with their father.  The timeless “father-son” talk, a talk that has side effects lasting just about until the day we have to have it with our own children.  As I inch closer to having to present that lecture, I can’t help but consider that I may need to rethink my approach; “son there comes a time in every man’s life when we begin to have stimulating thoughts for the girls in class, and I just want to make sure you are considering the environment when acting on them…”

Seems crazy, right?

If this craze catches on, and has the same effect as it did on the culinary community, expect to see sex fanatics using “Local” Lube to stimulate “Organic” Orgasms…..whenever possible.

(read more “Marketing Gurus Goobers” posts)

Protected: 50 Most Beautiful People In Food

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Saison Gets Three Star Review from San Francisco Magazine

Congratulations to boys over at Saison for this wonderfully written review by Josh Sens of San Francisco Magazine. Click pages to enlarge and read.

Many of you only get a chance to read the review, but we have the privilege to tag-along with these talented chefs and see all the hard work that goes into getting these write-ups. I secretly filmed executive chef Josh Skenes on one of our early morning trips to the fish markets – here’s a short video to give you a taste of what goes into getting that fresh fish, game and produce to your plate.

PR vs. Advertising – “DING,” You Are Now Free To Get A New Set Of Luggage

The constant debate remains of which is a better spend; PR or Advertising.  When it comes to a service related industry, my feeling is that PR is “brand building,” whereas Advertising is “brand bolstering.”  Lets use Southwest Airlines as an example and apply this theory to a case study; if anyone has seen Southwest’s new advertising initiative, they’re priding themselves on not charging for baggage and they go as far as taking a dig at other airlines hidden charges, making the verbal claim that “other airlines don’t like your bags.” For those who have not seen these commercials, check out this first video.

Sure, that’s a very heartwarming commercial, but this second video I just took through the window of Southwest flight 202 makes me question if they’ve really got love for my luggage.  I took the advertising script from the first video and dubbed it over what I saw through the window; as you’ll notice there’s quite a disconnect, and basically I wouldn’t mind paying a couple extra bucks for an additional staff member to ensure this didn’t happen to my baggage.

The reality is that any well funded company can spend their outreach dollars on advertising, however people (or the ‘Public’) will eventually form their own opinions and then it’s up to that company to launch a reactive “Public Relations” campaign to alter consumer perception of your brand.  Yes, be bold with your initiative, but be sure your that you’re employees are carrying out your mission — otherwise your consumers will be carrying-on their luggage.

“Sir, would you like to sit in the shooting or non-shooting section”

I pulled this image off the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control’s (DLLC) website.

The DLLC is encouraging restaurant owners to print out this sign and to post it on the front of their establishments before September 29th, 2009 – that is, if the restaurant owner does not want people carrying concealed weapons to enter their venue.

See, after Sept. 29, 2009 a new law will actually go into effect that will allow people carrying concealed weapons to bring them into restaurants and bars (just as long as they don’t drink).

The reason that I put 2009 above in bold is because I just want everyone to be absolutely clear that this 2009 and not 1809 when people would park their horses out front and shoot the place up over a crazy game of poker.

Arizona has banned smoking cigarettes in restaurants, not smoking guns.

Last week we posted a about a blog about a San Francisco restaurant’s Yelp strategy that ended up getting some nice traction with the SF Chronicle, NY Times, Food and Wine Magazine, Gawker and the SF Weekly.  Will we see a new trend in online reviews after September 29, 2009?  I mean, why waste your time giving a chef a bad review when you could just waste the chef?

Bad service?  No problem, that is if you remembered to bring your (hidden) Smith and Wesson.

Twitter | Facebook

Tweet 4 Help?

djamtwitterRegular readers of our blog have probably noticed a theme; we take current real world events and issues and and apply marketing theory/analysis to them.  We try to keep it fun and eschew topics of politics and death, but a recent loss has brought up a very interesting question:

Why are more that 100 NEW people PER HOUR on Twitter following the recently deceased DJ AM?

Twitter’s slogan is “see what people are doing right now.”  So what are these thousands of new people who are now following the late DJ AM looking for “right now?”

Understanding consumer psychology is the first step for us marketing professionals when crafting an outreach strategy.  The second step for us is to leverage the media (public relations) and modern technologies (twitter, facebook, etc) to reach our desired audience.  Now however, there appears to be a shift in the paradigm; it seems that these modern technologies have superseded consumer psychology, and it’s the technology itself that we need to fully wrap our arms around.

More importantly, can Twitter be used as a medium for identifying people in trouble?

Did any single one of the more than 115 THOUSAND followers of DJ AM see his last living tweet as a cry for help?

Based on his last tweet (featured above) in relation to his previous tweets; it seemed like a plea to me.

As children, we all had “imaginary friends” that we’d talk to – now we have what can be considered the equivalent – we have twitter accounts with “followers” that we tweet to. I feel that people are using these new mediums as a way to communicate otherwise hard topics to their “followers” just as we did to our imaginary friends when we were adolescents. It’s as if modern technology has made traditional communication so informal that people are sending out smoke signals of distress via tweets. Maybe I’m over-thinking it, but I will go on record and guarantee this is not the last time we will hear about somebody using convenient technology to express something that is far from convenient.

I’m not a psychologist, I’m a publicist who toes the line of a self proclaimed journalist, so I’m not going to dig up theories to back this logic (to be honest, I don’t think they exist, yet).  I do however look forward to the journalist and their respective publication that that veers away from the traditional Wall Street Journal article on how to increase your bottom line by using Twitter, and instead explores the notion of people using Social Media as cry for help, and on those people that continue to “follow” them when it’s unfortunately too late.

Adam Goldstein (DJ AM) was a very good friend of some of my best friends; our deepest love and respect goes out to him and his family.


Virtual Bribe?

Restaurateurs + Chefs- how much would you pay for a Yelp review?

Back in October, we talked about the importance of not Yelping under the influence, however recently I came across a new technique that a restaurant is using to win over their Yelp audience (click image to enlarge).

Mel’s Drive-In’s tag line is “Serving Since 1947,” but their social media marketing strategy is anything but as dated as their jukeboxes (for the record, I was grabbing a Milkshake before a movie at the next door cinema – I felt like I needed a Mel’s dining disclaimer).

As a PR and Marketing firm for restaurants, we strongly encourage the use of “4-Wall Marketing” by way of leveraging the 4-walls of your restaurant to market to your customer – but this technique is foreign even to us.  For lack of a better term, we’re deeming this strategy a “virtual bribe.”

So, for all you Yelpers; would you compromise the integrity of your “yelp status” to save $1.00 ($1.49 if “USED TOMORROW”) on your next Milkshake to write a good review for Mel’s? Based on Mel’s current lousy 2.5 stars out of a possible 5 star rating, it doesn’t seem to be working.

*Note, this is for Mel’s Diner in San Francisco, on Mission Street.

Twitter | Facebook

We’re Doing Things a Bit Differently Over Here

Here’s a video we put together on why we’re putting such a heavy focus on new media public relations. Please turn the sound up and make sure to watch it in “full screen” mode.

Twitter | Facebook

Lesson #1: Fact Check

With the recent onslaught of online newsletters and blogs, we’re getting reprimanded more-and-more by their respective “editors” about not providing accurate information.

For those folks, I offer up this video:

Meat Market(ing)


Click image to enlarge

Breaking News – Beretta Team Announces Plans For New Restaurant

Deborah Blum and Adriano Paganini (partners in Beretta) have taken over the restaurant formerly home to Asqew Grill (3583 16th St) in the Castro and will be opening a new restaurant with executive chef Adam Timney (formerly of Bacar, E&O; most recently he’s been curing meats at Boccalone). 

Read more…

The Making of a Culinary Tagline

Executive Chef Charlie Kleinman of the soon-to-be opened restaurant, Wexler’s, just graced us with a surprise visit to our office. He had some concerns with the way his PR firm (us) was positioning his cuisine- apparently we have not 100% nailed down the correct culinary tagline.

We appreciate when our clients surprise us with these visits, but we feel that it’s only fair to surprise them back- so, as he began candidly telling us about his vision and inspiration, I decided to turn on my computer camera and start recording away (sorry Charlie ☺ ). While we work on crafting the correct tagline (suggestions are welcome, please), we’ll let Chef Charlie Kleinman tell you about it directly….