I've been drawn to Chef Eric Ripert (see pic) of Le Bernardin in New York City for the simple fact that Le Bernardin has, in my opinion, a KILLER web site. (I've been researching web sites for a client, who is in the process of re-designing their own site.) The Le Bernardin site features fantastic photography, great navigation, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the "background sounds" on the cuisine page. Killer, killer, killer.
And then last night I happened to see Chef Ripert on a food/travel show, and he said something during a meal that really struck home with me: He said (and I'm paraphrasing a bit), that during a special meal, people "...want to be surprised, and to have an experience." Yes and yes!
One of the great delights I have when dining out is to see something new/different on the menu. And then when I try this new "thing" and its fantastic, yes! (I had this experience recently at the French Garden Restaurant in Sebastopol. I tried, for the first time, their Salmon Rillette, and WOW -- fantastic!...to the point where I have now sought out the perfect glass of wine to go with it, for my next visit.)
Chef Ripert's comments go beyond food and restaurants. EVERY BUSINESS could benefit by focusing on "surprise" and "an experience." All consumers WANT to be (pleasantly) surprised (at the quality of customer service) and have a great (buying) experience.
Want your restaurant -- or business -- to grow? Create surprise and a great experience for your customers, and it will.