Vision can often be blinding. Especially when the owner of the restaurant, who possesses the vision, thinks it’s so crystal clear that it blurs open-minded thinking. Balancing vision is the art that makes an entrepreneur successful
In one of my first restaurants I decided I didn’t want to use head lettuce in any of the salads. I had turned into a complete mix field green guy. Head lettuce was banned from the order sheet.
Months past by before a customer finally asked me why we were continually out of head lettuce. He had ordered it every time he came in and the waiter always told them we were out of the product. When I told him we never ordered it, I didn’t really want it on my menu, the customer assumed I was crazy. Then he suggested I put a Blue Cheese Wedge on the menu. He said if it didn’t shoot to the top of the sales chart in the salad section in two weeks he would pay me $100.00. He never had to pay me. The wedge was a hit and I realized my vision was blurred.
Maintaining a balance between what you think is hot and trend setting and giving the customer what they want frequently takes more than just creating a menu. It may take grappling with your ego and also constructing a balance between what you see and what they get.
Bob Shapiro, the San Francisco restaurant equipment icon and owner of Light Soda sees it all.
“I see it all the time. I’ve got vision, they say, then they prepare food that nobody wants.” said Shapiro. “When a certain restaurant first opened I went there, ordered a huge steak and asked if I could substitute french fries for the ‘whole grain mustard potato salad’. Of course they said I couldn’t because it was the chef’s vision, what a nighmare. Vision is a very dangerous thing.” added Shapiro.
A week ago I went to a new restaurant that opened in
On the other hand, Toast, (pictured above) in
Like anything else in business, melding what an owner wants and sees and still being able to accommodate the needs, desires and tastes of the customer is an art that can add or subtract from the bottom line.
Use your specials menu to keep the customer interested in what you are creating and track the success or failure of the flavors you create. You don’t have to completely try and change the direction the customer wants to travel while offering a new taste adventure.
Make sure when creating your vision that both you and the customer enjoys what they experience at the end of the journey.