One of those stalwart promise-keeping partner businesses is Hell's Kitchen, home of my personal all-time favorite peanut butter. The restaurant one of the unique selling points we have in our sales and marketing arsenal. As you’ve likely heard by now, Hell's Kitchen co-founder and Chef, Mitch Omer, passed away last Friday after a lengthy illness. Our Meet Minneapolis team extends our sincere condolences to Mitch's wife, Cyn Gerdes, and the entire Hell’s Kitchen team.
There are numerous examples of key partnership successes we've had with Hell's Kitchen over the years, but one that comes to mind is our work together during the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) World Education Congress we hosted in the summer of 2014. Many MPI attendees visited the restaurant during their stay and, not surprisingly, there were rave reviews. And Mitch and Cyn also reported record business during that period.
Meet Minneapolis Communications & PR Manager Kristen Montag recalls an occasion when Mitch welcomed her and a travel radio host, Kal London, for lunch when Kal was in town in 2013. I've had the opportunity to speak to Kal several times myself. Working with print and broadcast members of the media is vital to generating earned media or third party endorsements to bolster our marketing efforts. Mitch stopped by the table to chat with Kal and ended up telling lots of stories and totally charmed him. He sent Kal home with a cookbook and peanut butter and provided the meal on a complimentary basis. But Kristen remembers that Mitch leaned towards her and said, "I've got this, but make sure you take care of our staff." He wanted to ensure his servers got the much-deserved gratuities they worked for, which shows how dedicated he was to his staff.
Cheryl Offerman, our International Tourism Sales Manager, has brought international journalists into Hell’s Kitchen many times, and she remembers that Mitch always stopped by to greet the guests. Invariably, he’d insist they try the fabulous caramel rolls, heading to the kitchen and bringing them to the table himself. Each time, he told the story of the recipe, which originally came from his father. As a special treat on weekends, Mitch would have his granddaughter at the restaurant, and she would accompany him to the table to visit the guests—a touch that certainly made an impression on the journalists. Cheryl said, “Mitch’s love of family was indeed one of the most endearing qualities of this unique man.”
There are a number of our team members who interact with partners like Hell’s Kitchen. However, Amy Freese, our Partnership Marketing Director sums it up best when she noted that, "the commitment of Mitch and the Hell’s Kitchen family represents the unique qualities that differentiate Minneapolis." Mitch has laid the foundation for an enduring partnership that will benefit our community for years to come. We will miss him immensely but we're happy to be able to work with the Hell’s Kitchen team.