Clams for Dessert: Build Businesses for those Who Go the Opposite Direction

Due to fog I was recently stuck in Providence, and, of course, took the opportunity to dine at New Rivers. While the entire time I thought of how much I wished M was with me, I enjoy sitting at the bar alone, and, given my solo-ness, took some liberties that I otherwise wouldn’t.

For instance, after a fantastic appetizer and entree, I scanned the dessert menu, and then asked the bartender to see the dinner menu again.

While the desserts looked great, what I really wanted was …wait for it… the appetizer of, and I quote from the photo I took of the menu, “4 local littlenecks baked with our brioche crumbs, summer savory butter.”

I could think of no better “dessert.”

A few minutes later, to what I thought would be the dismay of the bartender and those around me I announced, “I have a suggestion.” Seeing the cocked eyebrows I continued, “Restaurants of this ilk should offer a savory ‘dessert.'” I continued: “Not some sort of cheese plate (not that there’s anything wrong with them), but something like clams that could really finish off a meal in a manner that yet another melting chocolate cake or sorbet with madeleines just can’t.” A dramatic pause, and then: “For dessert, I’ll take the clams!”

Well, after my little proclamation I was pleasantly surprised to find that those around me began chattering about what “savory” desserts they would be happy to see on a menu. (Is it any wonder that anyone with any sense always goes for the dessert that is described as containing salt (e.g. salted caramel whatever?))

Of course, the vast majority of people are perfectly content with desserts as we assume them to be, and would be repulsed by the idea of seeing some sort of, for instance, offal next to a profiterole on a menu.

But you know who I don’t really give a rat’s ass about? Exactly: “The vast majority of people.”

In fact, I believe there’s a vast market of people who are eager for something like clams for dessert. I also believe that, given the right organizational structure, these people often become something of a vocal minority.

My advice: Build businesses for those who go the opposite direction; for those whom the vast majority finds “weird;” for those whom make the vast majority uncomfortable.

The funny thing is that some material percentage of these things that the vast majority once found “weird” or disconcerting or unpalatable will be the same things that, in due course, are embraced by these same people (who will, of course, claim they’ve “always” loved these things).

At that point, you, the early adopter, will be significantly rewarded for being there first.

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