Morton’s Writes the Book on Steak
When Klaus Fritsch moved to the United States in 1967 and then teamed with Arnie Morton to co-found Morton’s, The Steakhouse in 1978, the West German probably never envisioned penning a 240-page “bible” on steak. But almost 30 years after opening the first of what has become a chain of more than 70 restaurants worldwide, Fritsch has done just that.
“Morton’s Steak Bible” is the first-ever publishing effort from the company that made its name in the kitchen—not the book store. Roger Drake, Morton’s vice president of communications and public relations, says finding the right publisher to get behind the book was the first step in the three-year project.
“We’ve been approached many times over the years, and this is our first and probably only cookbook we’re going to do,” he says. “This was all foreign to us. We’re in the business of making great steaks and creating a great dining experience. We know how to market that, but putting a book together was totally foreign.”
Clarkson Potter, a subsidiary of Crown Publishing Group known for its lifestyle books, was the perfect match. Founded in 1959, the publisher touts titles from famous chefs such as Jeff Nathan, Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart. The company’s experience with cookbooks made it a nice home for the “Bible,” Drake says.
But while Clarkson Potter’s goal is certainly to sell as many books as possible, Morton’s motivations are a little different.
“From our perspective, our main purpose for the book is to promote the Morton’s brand,” Drake says.
In fact, the company is so focused on using the book to boost its brand, its press release announcing “Morton’s Steak Bible” is highlighted by reviews from the Chicago Tribune, Washingtonian magazine and People magazine … on the restaurant itself and not the book.