Recently a restaurant closed down close to our home. This restaurant allowed their customers (users) to pick out their own ingredients, one by one, and hand them off to the chef. This included the spices and sauces et al. It’s a neat concept.
I don’t know the full story of why they closed down, certainly, but when my wife and I compared them to other successful restaurants the biggest difference struck me and inspired this blog.
By placing the flavor experience into the hands of the lay person, who didn’t go to school to learn the art of cooking, one has taken the potential amazing flavors and meal that person could enjoy and has left it to chance. Any trained chef will know which spices and sauces pair with which meats and vegetables. And the rest of us? We wing it.
My experience with eating there was fine, until I ate the food and it was “pretty good” – who did I attribute the flavors to? Me, who had actually picked them all out? Nope. The chef and restaurant I was paying.
And each time I went back I had a different flavor experience. I could look forward to picking ingredients out but couldn’t look forward to the meal – it was like gambling – I didn’t know how it would turn out. Without realizing why, I simply stopped going after three visits.
Certain industries require being different every time and certain industries require consistently being the same. It’s important we know which industry category we are in and how it relates to our users experiences.
McDonald’s isn’t successful because every restaurant and every cheeseburger is different – they are successful because it is always the same.
While I may not eat at McDonald’s, billions of orders don’t lie – other people do. This is just a piece of their overall strategy that can be discussed and looked at from a marketing standpoint: the consistent user experience.
We can’t make our customers pay to wing it – they won’t come back. Let’s instead isolate what we do that is special for each client, each customer, each service or each product – and deliver that over and over again.