Is Your Menu Out Of Style?

For our Foodie Friday Fun this week I refer you to an article on the Eater/Philadelphia blog.


(Photo credit: pomarc)

It makes a statement about food that just might have some business implications too.  Let’s see what you think.

In a piece entitled The 10 Signs Your Menu Is Out Of Style, they assert the following:

…what we eat is strongly influenced by the trickle-down effect of creative ideas and the cultural atmosphere we’re making decisions in. But, at what point does an ingredient or dish that once seemed utterly fresh become completely stale?

A classic like roast chicken may be safe, but most dishes are not so timeless. For example: The Korean taco. What started as a food-truck highlight from Kogi in Los Angeles has wended its way to TGI Friday’s menus everywhere. And recently, a bacon-studded sundae has appeared at Burger King. When a dish turns up on a chain restaurant menu, it’s over.

I agree – there’s a huge difference between a classic that’s widely executed with varying degrees of success and something “trendy” that loses its cutting edge.  Of course, that’s kind of true about anything in business, isn’t it?  The problem with trendy is that it becomes passe.  Or as Yogi once said about why he no longer went to Ruggeri’s, a St. Louis restaurant: “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

If your business is built around catering to the masses, grabbing the latest thing and making it widely available is a good thing.  More often than not, we’re not about mass anymore – we fulfill niches, we serve highly segmented audiences, and we can’t afford to let the rest of the world catch up or dilute our magic potion.  Apple is the best at this (and yes, they serve mass markets but they’ve moved on by the time others catch up).

So what’s on your menu these days?  Classics?  Something others will be dumbing down for their own menus in six months?  Or are you trying to stay afloat serving up stale versions of other’s creativity?  Think about it!

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