Is having a gimmick good for business?


Is having a gimmick good for business?

Is having a gimmick good for business?

In a recent article the Daily Mail explored some of the quirkiest concepts behind restaurants throughout the world with its intrepid reporter being seen in a bath of beer and eating with nude diners.

These are examples of some of the most extreme lengths that establishments within the hospitality industry go to in order to stand out from their competitors.

So are gimmicks a good way to set a restaurant apart or do customers see through the ruse and stay away in droves?

Well the answer to that lies in a number of factors, including location, target audience and how well the gimmick is carried out.

After all, if a gimmick is the only thing selling a restaurant then it has to be done well, otherwise it will look cheap and bizarre as opposed to clever and quirky.

Another thing to remember is that there are universal factors which all restaurants should do well whether the food is eaten blindfolded or not.

These are of course good quality food and excellent service and some gimmicks actually rely on these factors even more heavily.

The Opaque restaurant for example, which serves food with a blindfold so that the other senses are heightened must provide excellent dishes otherwise the concept does not succeed in its purpose.

Another place where the quality of the food is just as vital is the Modern Toilet restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan, where the dishes are served out of toilet bowls.

This rather bizarre concept has proven popular, but only because the food is exceptional. Were it not no customer would put up with it.

Looking at the location of a restaurant and the target audience is important when deciding to run with a concept as this will help predict whether it will work.

Some of the most unusual ideas only succeed because they are in a large city destination such as London or New York.

This is because the city is big enough to have a small fraction of the population who will appreciate the uniqueness of the idea, as well as large numbers of visitors passing through.

The same restaurant located in a small village which aims to attract locals every week or fortnight will struggle.

This does not mean that gimmicks cannot work in small locations, but they can be scaled down and not on such a grand scale.

For small places an establishment which is a little out of the ordinary can make as big an impact as having monkeys serve the food as is the case with the Kayabuki Tavern in Tochigi, Japan.

Another consideration is whether the concept interferes with the visitors' enjoyment of the experience.

One example of this is restaurants that serve meals back to front, starting with dessert, then the main and finishing with soup.

There is a reason why 99.9 per cent of restaurants for time immemorial have started with soup and ended with crème brulee - nobody wants soup after two other courses, but there is always room for something sweet!

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