While there are a few restaurants that pride themselves on appealing only to stuffy food snobs and elitists, for the most part every restaurant can and should take great care to make their menu strategy and concept in general as approachable as possible. As the saying goes, “You can never make it too easy to buy from you.”
On Being Approachable: Californian versus French Wines
One great example I like to use is Californian versus French Wines. If you went back to the 1970s and 1980s American wine producers were mostly producing jug wine (the cheap stuff) while the fine wines were imported from France.
The fine wines were served in those stuffy food snob restaurants and were intimidating for many Americans to pronounce and order. Mondavi, Jess Jackson, and Gallo all realized that if they could make fine wine more approachable they could enter the high end of the market. They did, and now Californian wine far outsells French wine in the US.
Approachable Menu Strategy
The same principle can be applied in many ways, especially as it relates to menu strategy to make items more approachable and marketable. For instance, did you know that the now wildly popular Chilean Sea Bass was originally named the Patagonian Toothfish?
Being Approachable is Hospitality
No matter how sophisticated and elite a restaurant is, it should never make guests feel intimidated and unworthy – that’s exactly the opposite of what hospitality is about. A menu and concept can be made more approachable without sacrificing anything in terms of sophistication. What you stand to gain though is your own equivalent to what the Californian wine producers gained – dramatically more sales by making it easier to buy.