It’s Foodie Friday and I know you’ve been wondering where I’ve been. Sorry about the infrequent posts this week. I’ve written before about the golf outing I go on every year and I’m in Myrtle Beach with the crew celebrating our friendship and playing an awful lot of (bad) golf. We come to Myrtle for the golf and fellowship – we definitely don’t come for the food. In 19 years of visiting we’ve found a few (and only a few) decent restaurants and so we’ve taken to cooking for ourselves a lot. While our food definitely tops out at the “advanced amateur” level, it beats most of what we’d pay for here. That said, the restaurants – a mixture of national chains, Calabash seafood joints, and sports bars – don’t make it worth the effort of money we’d spend on dinner for 12.
Why I bring this up is that they seem to do a good business which raised the question in my mind of standards. We’re not food snobs – most of us enjoy simple food prepared well using high quality ingredients and we’re not looking for fancy sauces or molecular gastronomy techniques. The standard to which we hold professionals is very different (apparently) from the one most of the folks visiting here seem to have.
The business question is this. I don’t think the cooks are less skilled nor the service staff any less capable. I do think that they’re playing to the bar set by their clientele and that’s a trap for any business. We need to be focused on “best” and not on”this will get us by.” Many folks like fried seafood buffets (a specialty around here) but using old oil for frying or frozen, imported fish rather than changing the oil regularly and fresh local catch is meeting the low expectations that come either from not knowing any better (McDonald’s is fine until you taste Fatburger or In & Out) or from a business that doesn’t focus on repeat customers. Very few businesses are afforded that luxury.
Since golf is delayed by a tropical storm passing through (good planning I know), we’ll be cooking another meal here. That’s some restaurant’s loss (and given this group it’s a substantial loss). Our job in business is to make eating out at our place a more attractive proposition than staying home. The higher we set our own bars the more likely we are to do that.