Is it about high quality food? Restaurateur Eddie Black says no.
When you go to a restaurant that you’ve been to before, the last thing you should ever say to yourself is, “I hope it’s good tonight”. If this thought occurs to you, then you should follow-up with, “So why do I go back there?” You then take a moment and realize sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s so-so. But what you’re really saying is that it’s a crap shoot. One should never be nervous about going to a restaurant.
We talked to Eddie Black, a restaurateur and former chef, about what it takes to be successful in this business. Eddie gets a little exasperated when he talks about his competitors:
“It truly amazes me how people can find the money to open restaurants, but don’t truly understand the business. So many restaurant owners just don’t get it that the restaurant industry is all about the customer experience. Sure, we care about about the quality of the food…. or at least we think we do. But the quality of the food is just an opinion, what really sells, what really matters, is the customer experience, and the customer experience is all about consistency. The higher the level of consistency across the entire dining experience, the more likely the restaurant will succeed.”
“So consistency is the real key ingredient, not what you put in a recipe. The big chains get it — well, mostly they do. But the independent restaurateur usually doesn’t. Many seem to think that the more they spend on such things as decor and ingredients, the better the odds that they are getting it right.
Wrong. There are small ‘whole-in-the-wall’ restaurants that I go to regularly and it’s always a GREAT experience – the food is simple but always what I expect. And there are times that I’m forced to go to supposedly top-tier restaurants for which I begin the evening with a question mark in my head, I then overpay for the meal, and at the end walk out thinking I was fooled — it wasn’t like the last time I went there.”