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Marginalized Cuisine: when Money gets in the way of making Money.

How many times have you visited a restaurant only to end up with a sour feeling in the pit of you stomach? You just realized that warming up the leftovers from last nights dinner would have been a better choice then spending fifty bucks for your family to dine on packaged pre-prepared microwaved dishes from a chain restaurant.

In my book The Chefs Reference Guide, I discuss this concept in the preface entitled, Mental Mise en Place. “Have you ever been to a restaurant where you ordered the same thing on twp separate occasions? When you went back to the restaurant was that meal just as good as the first time? If your answer is no then perhaps, your second experience was an improper execution of the formula. …. This is where the consistency of preparation is critical; you ordered the dish the second time because you liked it the first. Most guests will not reorder a dish that they did not like the first time….”Managers are in charge of achieving production goals without sacrificing quality, “if inferior raw materials are purchased inferior products will result. If poorly trained or incompetent people are used on the production line, inferior products will result.”

Quality Quality is the consistent delivery of a predetermined standard. Without recognized standards and customer-validated expectations, the growth of a brand will not succeed. Why has McDonalds done so well over these past 63 years? Think about it…. the consistent delivery of a predetermined standard. McDonalds became popular as Americans took to the road in the 1950’s, and with any road trip, the necessity, for families to find a safe, quick, and inexpensive place to eat. The reason why there are so many chain restaurants today is directly linked to the success of this business model

The Taste of Industrialized Cooking. I am a big fan of ethnic cuisine made by folks who really know what they are doing. In my opinion there is nothing worse that phony ethnic food. Bowls of rigatoni with overly thickened cream sauce, burritos layered with canned cheese, canned beans and some type of ground meat, and the worst- blackened tilapia with black bean and corn salsa aka "fish tacos.

The New Customer

In the past ten years here in Charlotte I have noticed the growth and fall of many restaurants. Those who have succeeded have connected with customers by making meaning in their cuisine. Guy Kawaski, Reality Check, make meaning and the money will follow. Based upon my conversation with new customers here is what the want.

1. Authentic experience

2. User friendly point of sale

3. Fresh local ingredients

4. Something to brag to their friends about.

Restaurants who do not marginalize their customers and cuisine will be successful.

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