Foodie Friday Fun this week begins with a chalkboard. I went out for dinner last night and the place I went was small. After having been seated, one might expect the server to produce a menu. He didn’t. Instead he pointed to a chalkboard hanging on wall next to the open kitchen. “Tonight’s menu is there” he said. There were no specials – everything was a special.
The menu was small. A few different types of crostini, two different types of pasta, a fish, a lamb dish, a beef dish, a duck dish and dessert. Only three. Everything was based on the ingredients available locally that day. Having researched the place prior to going, I’d seen an assortment of previous menus. One or two of the dishes popped up several times but the menus really varied from day-to-day. They reflected the philosophy of the owners: fresh seasonal ingredients prepared simply. Which of course got me thinking.
Many businesses try to be all things to all people. They produce products in response to a competitor’s success. Brand and line extensions are one way to leverage all of the brand equity we’ve built up. The reality is that if the “larger menu” isn’t done as well as the array of choices that built that equity in the first place, we end up diluting what we’ve built up in the consumer’s mind.
The local ingredients had another advantage – much lower costs since they weren’t being shipped from around the world. The prices at this place were reasonable. They didn’t serve wine or liquor although you could bring your own (and they didn’t charge corkage!). Again, maintaining a wine list was a distraction for them. No inventory can go bad when you don’t have any.
I think this place’s philosophy is a good one for businesses to emulate. Do a few things well. Make everything special. Make your products with the best “ingredients” you can find, where they be the people who provide your services or the materials from which your products are made. Quality over quantity? Maybe, although I think quantity comes from quality. What do you think?