Samantha Priestley has written online and in print on various subjects, including travel, fashion, music, relationships and lifestyle, and of course, food.
If you think about it, the single product concept is nothing new, we’ve had fish and chip restaurants in the UK for as long as we can remember and though most of us have never stopped to consider what makes them so successful, we all know they are.
While modern single product concept restaurants are more sophisticated and innovative, they are still essentially using the same idea.
So what makes the single product concept work so well, and why do we love it so much?
Less is More
A short menu with few dishes can be better for diners and restaurants than long complicated choices. Evidence suggests many customers are put off by too much choice and find rambling menus too time consuming to read and sometimes too confusing. By offering a simple choice based on one product the customer instantly understands what they’re getting.
At Burgers & Lobsters they’ve taken this one step further and have done away with menus altogether. The concept is based on two products – burgers and lobsters- and instead of reading through a complex menu, customers have a conversation with waiting staff who simply explain what’s in the kitchen.
It’s a daring move and won’t suit everyone, but it is a unique selling point and something many curious diners will want to try. The upside of all this for the restaurant is, with less on the menu staff have an easier time guiding customers through the food and chefs become experts at cooking it.
Using the single product concept is an intelligent way to brand your restaurant. We all know who McDonalds are and we all know what they sell. By keeping it simple and focussing on one product in particular you can make a name for yourself, but you’ll need to be original.
Madd prove that it’s possible to take just about any product or ingredient and make it the centre of your entire business.
Based in The Arts Theatre, Great Newport Street, London, Madd sells drinks, snacks and desserts with a distinctive mango flavour.
By choosing such a niche product as the basis of your restaurant, you are taking a risk – not everyone loves mango – but you are also making yourself entirely unique and memorable.
Businesses are also using this idea as a way of diversifying. Hotel Chocolat, the well-known chocolate store, has opened up restaurants in London and Leeds where dishes are created using chocolate as the key ingredient.
If there’s one rule you must live by if you run a single product concept eatery, it’s ‘be excellent’.
By selling your whole business on this one product you absolutely have to be brilliant at cooking it, presenting it, and delivering it. No one’s going to come back to a restaurant that specialises in a product, but doesn’t do it justice. The good news is, with a single product concept you have the room to become a complete expert. Your chef has to be passionate about this product and your staff have to live and breathe it.
At Burgers & Beers in Edinburgh they have this art down to a tea. The restaurant is run on the concept of partnering burgers and beer and although they do offer other drinks, 9 times out of 10 customers will order burgers and beer. The menu is simple, but offers enough choice to keep everyone happy. A wide selection of beers and a short menu with options to customise and swap meat for the vegetarian option on every burger, keeps the customer interested and gives the staff the scope to become experts in these two major products.
The single product concept has been around for a long time in one form or another, but it’s fast becoming synonymous with quality and is growing in popularity. With more businesses seeing the potential in specialising and making their name on one ingredient in particular, the trend looks set to go from strength to strength.