A retail experience: old way vs. new way

This is an extract from our previous newsletter on 3D Retailing.

(Apologies to those who subscribe. If you don't, drop your email in the box, and I will give you access.)

The OLD way (two-dimensional)

  • You arrive a few minutes early, but they have the table ready anyway.
  • The waiter acknowledges you, greets you, introduces himself and takes you to your table where they hand you your menu
  • The waiter comes around within a few minutes to take orders
  • They even suggest a few specials and make a recommendation for the wine
  • They place the order at the kitchen and return with water & crockery
  • They bring the food out and serve it the proper way.
  • Everyone gets the meal they ordered, and it is presented well and it tastes exactly how you expected.
  • During the course of the meal there are a few 'table checks' and they top up the wine/ water.
  • They bring the desert menu, take the order and serve the desert in good time.
  • The waiter is alert and you catch their eye easily and you signal for the bill.
  • Your credit card is approved and you leave a healthy tip.
  • You are greeted when you depart.

The NEW way (three dimensional)

  • You arrive at the restaurant and you are greeted by name by the host.
  • He accompanies you to the foyer where other guests are mingling.
  • The host enquires about your last business trip and compliments your companion on her earrings.
  • As the host introduces you to a few other guests, the sommelier brings you a pre-dinner drink (based on knowledge of your preferences. But it is a new flavour, and they share a few titbits about the new process/grape/brand whilst serving you.
  • One of the hosts is telling a story to a few people gathered around her, and you join the half-circle to watch the 'performance'.
  • A few minutes later the door to kitchen opens and the host invites everyone in. There are long bench tables arranged around the kitchen island, which is manned by 8 chefs.
  • The lighting changes and the head chef introduces the crew. Each of the four long tables will be serving different range of dishes based on your recorded preference. You had indicated 'seafood' and your companion take your seat at that table.
  • Your seafood chef greets you by name (they had the seating plan indicated on their side of the table, and they have learned something about every customer.)
  • He then proceeds to run through the menu planned for the night.
  • As they start the preparations, they engage you in conversation, telling you what they are doing giving some tips as they go.
  • The courses are placed in front of you by your chef throughout the night.
  • When you are ready to leave, you simply get up and excuse yourself.
  • The chef comes around and gives you a hug and your companion a kiss on both cheeks.
  • They insist you take the half bottle of wine with you as you leave.
  • At the door, the doorman opens the door to the waiting taxi.
  • At the end of the month, your credit card is charged the usual monthly membership fee.

Whilst you may argue that you would not like the 'new' restaurant experience, that is not quite the point. This is just one example aimed at people who do this for the food experience. I am sure you can imagine a few other 'themes' or experiential outcomes that would suit your tastes better - and if there us a market for it, some restauranteer will cater for it.

The point of this exercise is to imagine how a 'traditional' concept might be transformed in an experience. You may think a restaurant is an easy option, but the same can be done for a travel agent, a hair dresser or a shoe shop - quite easily.

Dreaming up the experience is the easy part.

Translating it into a physical experience (staff, systems, procedures etc.) is the hard part.

And of course doing so at a profit is harder still.