At a recent meeting I was addressing near Boston, I learned the fascinating story of the Berry family, and their restaurant on Cape Cod, Moby Dick’s. It’s a true story of distinction.
You can read on their website how the restaurant came to be — and how the oldest son, Todd, discovered how much he enjoyed the business. When I met Todd, he gave me a very important insight on how and why their restaurant is so distinctive — to the extent it has received rave reviews everywhere from TripAdvisor.com to the New York Times’ Style Magazine.
“We don’t have a liquor license,” Todd told me. When I expressed my surprise that such a busy place wouldn’t also profit from serving at least beer and wine, he had a great response.
“It just like in your book, Scott!” he responded. “We invite our customers who want to enjoy an adult beverage to bring their own! In that way, they’re always assured of having their favorite beer — or even a bottle of wine they can buy at a store for about half of what most restaurants will sell it. We will provide them with everything from ice to glasses so they can enjoy the drink of their choosing, and buy it for less than what my competition can sell it in their restaurants.”
“But, here’s another thing,” he continued with his wise observations, “it also allows us to suggest that we will focus on the great food instead of trying to sell you drinks like the other guys. It’s what we do NOT do that helps us create distinction.”
He’s exactly right.
By the way, it wasn’t mentioned — and I’m only guessing here — but it also saves Moby Dick’s the expense of licensing and compliance, liability insurance and server training; and, more importantly, the time and great expense necessary to stock and maintain a selection of alcohol. So, in other words, what makes them distinct also potentially provides a competitive advantage by reducing their overhead.
I have not yet had the privilege of dining at Moby Dick’s. I’ve since read online about the great crowds of people who do — and noticed an overwhelming majority (132 of 156) on TripAdvisor.com rated it “Excellent” or “Very Good.” (Which, if you know much about how people tend to be very critical in their rankings on that site, are amazing reviews!)
However, as my mouth is watering and stomach growling just writing about them — I can assure you I will be there on my next trip to the Cape.
More importantly, it is a great lesson they are sharing with us. Distinction is often more about what is absent from your business — and how you focus and specialize on what you REALLY do — than it is providing a wide array of products and services to your customers.
What’s absent from your efforts that makes you more distinctive in the marketplace?