As the founder of Becca, Becca Parrish has built a reputation championing the best in the hospitality business. She and her team have a knack for discovering new talent and collaborating with world-class creatives, from Eric Ripert to Ralph Lauren. With offices in New York, Chicago and LA, Becca believes in the power of thoughtful PR, the rarest kind.
Always hungry for more
“I frequently initiate the conversation to say, “Stop paying us. Use that money elsewhere. Figure things out.” And then because we’re not getting anywhere, I feel like we’re on the same team. I don’t want to take a dollar unless I think I’m going to exceed someone’s expectations”
It is not enough to know the best restaurants in New York – Becca Parrish also has them in her hands: the doors of consecrated houses such as The Odeon, The Polo Bar and Estela, for example, open to the journalist and PR at first command – she not only redefined the national communications sector for the areas of gastronomy, but also for culture and tourism. Becca’s success at the table (and at all costs) was due to the unique seasoning of journalistic and culinary curiosity, which has always harmonized in the bustling life of the South – devouring life hastily but delighting in it.
A calm path that is capable of a good narrative: the secret ingredient of success that for more than 14 years permeates the career of the communicator. In command of an entirely female and sharp team, the journalist justifies her leadership as one of the few professionals in the field that truly understand and ponders the bittersweet balance that unites restaurateurs and editors on the same agenda – a talent that makes reporters and chefs always come back and with more and more appetite.
“Literally there’s been so many interesting conversations we’ve had around food. And certainly wellness and beauty, that’s a natural one. So I think that we’ll be doing that more and more for our clients”
Claur: We believe that your office receives a lot of requests from bloggers, influencers. And how can you filter?
Becca Parrish: We’re learning on the job. I do think that influencers are the same, in terms of if you were to say what’s the difference between PR and advertising or marketing and advertising. PR in particular, it’s someone else saying it’s cool. It’s not like if you open a magazine or you’re watching TV, you know if it’s an advertisement, although less and less, right? Because those lines have been blurred. But it’s very powerful that someone chose something, said, “Hey, my reader. You’re going to dig this. I’m giving it my seal of approval. I’m devoting real estate and time to reporting on this thing. You should check it out.” So influencers the same thing. As we know, there’s a whole category growing of people who don’t read anything and get their news solely from social media. So in the same way, people that follow people that they like or admire, then they’re giving it their stamp of approval. “You should watch this. You see this, our experience with this restaurant, check out this chef.” So in terms of evaluating who is legit and he was not, I think it’s really a learning process. Just as someone might write something about it and they took a negative spin. Or we invite a blogger somewhere, and they come, work up an enormous tab, and then don’t leave any gratuity to the staff. It’s over. So I think that their influence is not going to go anywhere, but I do think that we are trying to come up with a network of trusted influencers that have a track record of behaving well, and producing. And that the nice part about that is it’s measurable. You can see if people are liking it or if that ends in a transaction
Claur: Do you cook?
Becca Parrish: I don’t anymore. I cook a little bit, but pretty much this is my life where I eat out at the best restaurants in the city. And then if I’m home, I will say that any man I’ve ever loved, loves to cook. So I’m well fed at home by someone else, or I’m dining out pretty much. Or I’ll do, my daughter and I call it snacky plates where it’s just smoked salmon, really good cheese, some fruit. Everything’s raw, that will be a dinner on occasion. But pretty much it’s restaurants or a man cooking for me.
Claur: For your personal decision when you’re going out on a Saturday, what are your five top restaurants to go to?
Becca Parrish: I still have to include The Odeon in there just because it’s so well lit and I just think a burger and a Manhattan. Or moules fries, I love getting an omelette with a great glass of Bordeaux and French fries. I just feel you can’t beat that.
Claur: Talking about the PR business, where do you think that the business is going? How can you work in different ways for clients and the strategy, and how to … Because you said, “No only PR and not only for restaurants.” Right? So how can you expand now your business? If you want to expand it, where do you want to go?
Becca Parrish: Yeah. I think that frankly, we’re figuring that out. I think it’s been interesting to take our something we just not taken for granted, but how knowledgeable and dialed in we are in this space that I would say is North America, not only … Includes all of the US in terms of what’s happening in food. And you can see everything happen in between New York and Los Angeles, and then it creeping into places like Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia and Portland. And I mean the whole food scene has been very much elevated, and that goes from the food to the design to all of it. Which is super exciting. So I think to take that idea and knowledge base and then see how it might be useful to bigger brands that want to do cooler stuff and then to emerging chefs who are looking for things to do outside of their restaurant. So that used to be what an agent would do, but now it’s more part, I feel it’s part of PR marketing because we’re all creating content, we’re telling stories. You’re reaching new audiences.
Claur: Do you plan for example collaborations for the chefs that you work with?
Becca Parrish: Absolutely. And it’s exciting for everyone. And the brands run the gamut. It could be a fashion brand, to something that evolved in just general retail or developers. Everyone is trying to figure out. Literally there’s been so many interesting conversations we’ve had around food. And certainly wellness and beauty, that’s a natural one. So I think that we’ll be doing that more and more for our clients. And then kind of how we were talking before we started taping, but the idea of what you’re doing and creating a platform that is axillary, am I pronouncing that correctly? Ancillary to what we do, it’s not about PR marketing. It’s more creating content and having fun, and using our contacts and expertise to make something. Yeah. So we’ve done bits for ourselves like we do videos for the company and we use all the women on the team, and we have fun with that. But we’ve never made it more general interest. We do our newsletter and that kind of thing. But I don’t know, there could be something, and I’ve talked to people who have built incredible platforms on their own that are related to teaming with them to do something together.