It’s the last Foodie Friday post before Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and I thought this might be a good time to reflect upon that meal. I’ll start cooking this weekend by making turkey stock and I’ll be doing a little each day right up until mealtime on Thursday. Hopefully the 25 folks in attendance will all get fed at the same time and fall asleep watching football in a food coma.
If the truth be told, I don’t love this meal although it’s one of my favorite holidays. It’s a favorite because the family gathers together, something that’s a precious occasion as we all get older and become more spread out. But I don’t love the meal because it’s always the same menu with the odd little variation – a different take on a vegetable or maybe a new pie. It’s kind of boring as a cook but I know the people who are being fed love it. Which got me thinking.
All of us in business seem to be under a constant imperative to innovate. To make our products better. To change things up because if you do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you always get. If you’ve spent any time here on the screed you know that I buy into looking at our businesses through new eyes as often as we can. Then I think of the Thanksgiving meal.
The family likes the familiarity. They look forward to some of the dishes that they only eat this one time each year. They know what they’re going to get when they traipse over to Rancho Deluxe for the meal. Our customers are like that too, I think. When you walk into most QSR chains you know what you’re going to get when you order a menu item. Whether you’re in New York or Los Angeles it will be the same. For many people who are risk-averse, that’s comforting and critical.
The balance between innovation and stability is something we need to maintain as we go forward in our business thinking. When I switched over to frying the turkey on Thanksgiving I still roasted one so the family could make the move in their own minds instead of me imposing my will. We no longer roast a bird because everyone’s preferences changed. There’s no need for any of us to repeat the “New Coke” disaster.
I’ll be serving the same old thing for Thanksgiving. It makes my “customers” happy. You?