Business these days is all about relationships and, make no mistake, at the end of the day, a restaurant is first and foremost a business.
Many Miami chefs form partnerships and alliances with corporations, most of them food related.
Michelle Bernstein (Cena by Michy's) has been part of frozen entree Lean Cuisine's culinary roundtable and works with Delta Airlines, Edge Steak & Bar's Aaron Brooks conducts dinners and tastings for True Aussie Lamb, Meat Market's Sean Brasel is an ambassador for Certified Angus Beef, and Allen Susser serves on the Mango Board.
Now, Michael Schwartz has announced a partnership with Cadillac, with the luxury car named the official vehicle of the Genuine Hospitality Group. As part of the partnership, Schwartz will have access to Cadillac's fleet of vehicles for both his personal use and day-to-day business operations.
Schwartz and his restaurants, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Cypress Tavern, and Harry's Pizzeria, will be part of an interactive campaign for 2016 that includes special incentives for restaurant guests like door-to-door car service for select dinners, special events, surprise offerings, and a social media campaign.
Sam Homsy, Cadillac regional marketing manager, is looking forward to working with the chef and his restaurants. "Miami and its visitors are drawn to Chef Schwartz's approach to food and hospitality, because he delivers an exceptional, genuine experience that guests want to come back for time and time again. By partnering with a culinary icon and local food authority, Cadillac has a unique opportunity to reveal the brand in new ways and bring to life the essence of what Cadillac is all about."
The culinary icon joins the likes celebrity icons Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Frank Sinatra as fans of the car, saying, "I am a Cadillac guy! When I was growing up, Cadillac was, like, the ultimate status symbol. We didn't have a lot of money, so we didn't have one in the garage, but it was something to aspire to."
The chef says his family always rents an Escalade while making his trips to Santa Rosa to blend his Lua Rossa wine. The chef-turned-car enthusiast says, "Over the past few months, I've had the opportunity to drive through the entire fleet, even see how they perform on a racetrack. It's cool to see the other side, what goes into the cars."
Schwartz even took one out for a test drive at Homestead Miami Speedway recently. The CTS-V sedan, best known for giving affluent people a smooth ride to Bal Harbour Shops, reached an impressive 120 miles per hour, according to the chef.
Schwartz isn't the first chef to work with a car company. Scarpetta's Scott Conant recently filmed a commercial for the Infiniti QX80, and Momofuku's David Chang shilled for Audi in 2014.
Of course, not everyone's a Cadillac person. In 2012, Anthony Bourdain became famously furious with Travel Channel when they re-cut his final No Reservations episode to make it look like he was endorsing Cadillac. In a blog post, the chef (who points out that he has no problems with Cadillac) writes,
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"My inclination, I should point out has always been to do NO product integration of ANY kind. I do not have a merchandise line. I don’t sell knives or apparel. Though I have been approached to endorse various products from liquor to airlines to automobiles to pharmaceuticals dozens of times, I have managed to resist the temptation. Though not quite a virgin, I have tried to remain fairly pure."
Since that statement, Bourdain has inked a deal with The Balvenie to endorse its Scotch. Still no Cadillac love, however.
Follow Michael Schwartz and his Escalade escapades at #GenuineCadillac.