One of my goals in life is to establish stunningly informative rules that will guide your life for decades to come. Earlier this year, I coined (and copyrighted) the Empoprises FECES Rule of Corporate Me-Tooism, and the time has come to add a second rule: the Empoprises RCDCR Rule of Insider Food Talk. This rule, copyright 2012 John E. Bredehoft, is worded as follows:
Anyone who explicitly uses the words "restaurant concept" when addressing a potential diner should be exposed to continuous ridicule.
Now I have no problem with restaurant concepts per se. If you want to say that your restaurant is a Chinese-Mexican fusion restaurant, go for it. The problem occurs when you explicitly prattle on about your restaurant concept.
Earlier today I wrote a post in my Empoprise-BI business blog about a Washington, DC restaurant called Woodward Takeout Food. And while the post concentrated on the acronym for this restaurant, I also spent looked at the concept of this restaurant, taken from the restaurant's website. There are actually two concepts; here is how the second one is described.
...Woodward Takeout Food, a sprite artisanal alternative for breakfast and lunch.
But it's not just snooty northwest Washington restaurants that blather on about their concepts. Take Portillo's. People in the Chicago area are probably familiar with Portillo's, which originally gained fame as a hot dog place. The restaurant has expanded geographically, and now has a location in Moreno Valley, California (and a second California location in Buena Park). And if you go to the Moreno Valley location, you can see a big sign talking about Portillo's...RESTAURANT CONCEPTS.
If you don't want to drive to Moreno Valley or fly to Chicago, you can see the same yammering at Portillo's website:
Hi, I'm Dick Portillo and I welcome you to The Portillo Restaurant Group and its five different concepts (Portillo's Hot Dogs, Barnelli's Pasta Bowl, Honey-Jam Cafe, Luigi's House and Julian's Piano Bar). I hope you will find the time to visit each of the concepts and enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed developing them.
I'm sorry, but when I hear a restaurant owner talking about his or her "restaurant concept," I feel like I'm looking at the owner in his or her underwear. And unless your name is Giada, it's not a pretty picture.
Using insider terminology such as "restaurant concept" is almost as bad as using acronyms. When someone outside of the fingerprint identification industry asks me what I do for a living, I don't immediately start talking about "NIST Type 2." And if the person isn't involved in proposals, I don't immediately share our company's approach to red teams.
If I go to your restaurant to eat, just tell me what you're serving. Don't explain your concept, and don't prattle about your 7-Ups from artesian wells. (What is a sprite artisanal alternative, anyway?)