To end the week, it’s pulpo. For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, that’s octopus. I have had pulpo on my mind since dinner last night and since it’s Foodie Friday I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been thinking about.
The Mrs. and I went to a tapas place last evening and there was a special of pulpo a la plancha. I’ll explain what it is in a second but I ended up ordering two plates of it and eating them both by myself. Gluttony? No, just a great business lesson.
I’m not sure I would have ordered something called “octopus boiled for many hours and then flash grilled on a hot metal plate served with some herbs and spices.” It’s not very appetizing when it’s presented that way. Pulpo a la plancha, which is prepared as described above, sounds a lot more interesting. The main spice, by the way, is smoked spanish paprika and parsley, garlic, and olive oil are thrown on the dish at the very end. Octopus is one of those things that seem so simple to prepare but if done badly can result in something inedible – chewy, tough, stringy – yuch. This was perfectly prepared – tender as butter.
So why am I carrying on about this dish and what does it have to do with business?
- I had a “WOW” moment. I was served a product that far exceeded my expectations (which were pretty high going in since the food in this place is pretty good) and ended up ordering more. Isn’t that exactly the response we’re trying to create with our customers?
- I had an appreciation for the skill involved in making what seemed to be a simple dish. Having tried to cook octopus I can tell you that it is difficult to get it just right. That said, most customers don’t care – they want it to taste good. The server didn’t ask “do you understand what it took to make this?” They asked “is your food OK?” We need focus on the customers’ expectations first and not on our own priorities (demonstrating a lot of kitchen skill in this case).
You never know where you’re going to run into a business lesson – even a la plancha!