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You Can’t Sell a $50 Steak to Someone Who’s There for a $2 Enchilada

In: Online Marketing

So the other day I'm eating a giant meat kabob (not a euphemism) at a restaurant in Central America, when the manager— a dear friend whom I happen to know have gotten drunk with in my twenties—came over to jingle all the bells (also not a euphemism), talk shop, and send me off with a proper bottle of wine to go.

This place that I speak of: it's an Argentine grill. As in, open flames, actual cow carcasses, vegetables the size of your clavicle, and lots of moody lighting. (I love moody lighting. Makes my boobs MUCH less saggy.)

The reason this is important to know is because of what followed—because what followed was a rant. And there's nothing better than a good rant, am I right? The rant was not mine (you're safe for now, customer service people at  but that of my manager friend. His beef? (I'M SORRY I'LL PUT MYSELF IN THE CORNER NOW.) Someone new was brought in to help grow the restaurant, and their very first move: add 2×1 margaritas and $2 enchiladas and lots of cheesy nachos and put it all on a chalkboard on the sidewalk to get people in the door. Ándale!

This infuriated my friend, not because he is anti-enchilada (the mere suggestion), but because he understood something very clearly that they did not:


You can't sell a $50 steak to someone who's there for a $2 enchilada.


NOT TO MENTION THE ENTIRE THEME OF THE RESTAURANT WAS HIDEOUSLY WRONG. That tomfoolery aside, my friend was right: you have to pick a lane. What you put on the menu inevitably attracts who you seat at the tables. If the restaurant needs to bring in $6,000 a day to hit their target, it ain't happening when you're calling out to a bunch of sweaty two-buck chucks. There's no such thing as a restaurant that serves a bloomin' onion and a superfood smoothie. The people who want the superfood smoothie wouldn't touch the place with a ten-foot seaweed pole—”suspicious”—and the people who want the bloomin' onion would take one look and be all, “DA FUCK?”

There's a lesson to be learned here. Namely, the next time you aren't sure about who you're talking to and who you want as customers, ask yourself if you are a heap of deep-fried onions or some runny artichoke anus. And then choose. Pick one. Don't try to walk that line. Bad things happen when you go multiple personality. Think of yourself as a restaurant: are you going to be Long John Silver's or Legal Sea Foods?

It feels wrong, picking a lane. It feels bad to intentionally leave people out. With everything we do, we try to be as inclusive as possible. But when it comes to helping people decide where to eat, you have to be willing to say: “You won't like this. This is not for you.”

And if that ain't service, I don't know what is.

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