Mimes, live performances, actors, face painting activities, exotic drinks, a climbing wall…an art performance, right? Nope. It’s a restaurant in Bogota. But calling it a restaurant is an understatement; it’s an experience.
Ask anyone about their experience with Andres Carne De Res and they will talk about the experience they had first, then the food. It’s true, Andres Carne de Res is a restaurant unlike any other. For one, it’s only open three times a week and is always packed. It’s also become a popular tourist spot as people from across the world come to Andres Carne de Res to experience something truly unique.
As a business leader, this is what you want people to remember after they’ve interacted with your brand: I had such a special experience that I have to tell everyone about it.
How does Andres Carne De Res do it? And more importantly, what can you learn from them that can be applied to your own customer experience?
From a business perspective, assumptions exist as to what a restaurant is. When you think about a restaurant, you immediately visualize tables, chairs, waiters, drinks and hopefully great food.
Andres Carne de Res has all of these components, but they are taken to the literal extreme; and add more.
Though Andres Carne de Res is a restaurant, it doesn’t compete with other restaurants, rather it competes with theme parks like Disney; which informs their overall strategy.
I’ve identified the following core ingredients that make up the recipe for their unique customer experience:
- Do It Big. The food offer is extensive, to say the least, with a main menu that is 64 pages of small print offering a vast array of dishes, from hundreds of starters and sides right up to ceviche, fish platters and huge slabs of meat from the grill. If that weren’t enough, there are total of 11 dining areas and two dance floors; the place can accommodate up to 3,300 people.
- Layers of intricate surprises. Aside from the food, Andres Carne de Res is known for it’s quirky interior, packed with curios (which you can buy right on the spot) and party atmosphere. Not only that, in order to maintain a sense of surprise they hire actors to entertain guests all night.
- Empowered employees. Much like Disney’s theme parks have been envisioned and created by their Imagineers, Andres Carne de Res has an in-house workshop that brings all of their quirky ideas to life.
- Everyone’s invited. With so many entertainment options you would think that Andres Carne de Res is for adults, but they appeal to anyone; kids included. For example, kids have their own play area complete with a climbing wall. Also, they can learn dance moves from in-house artists.
Actionable ideas for Business Leaders
A truly engaged customer experience is exceptionally difficult to copy, because it’s part of the DNA of the organization; lived everyday. Which is exactly what happens at Andres Carne de Res.
You can use their ideas as a lens to see your own business anew. Here are some actionable ideas for you to think about
- State your purpose. A unique customer experience has focus, figuring out what to do and not to do is critical.Here are some questions to help you find your purpose:
- What business are we really in?
- What do you want customers to remember about their experience?
- What do we want them to tell others about us?
- What do we want customers to feel while they’re with us?
- Coordinate through simple rules. An effective way to coordinate all the pieces that make up your customer experience is to develop simple rules for how an outcome will be achieved. For example, most business leaders talk about “providing a great service” but that is too vague to understand.Instead, ask yourself: How might we make our customers day special?
The point is to get concrete and not leave anything up to chance.
- Take it to the extreme. Take your current experience and turn it into a more extreme version of itself. The idea is to focus on the things you’re good at and take them to the extreme, then work backwards and integrate certain things that are doable without having to change everything.To do so, ask yourself: what can we faster / slower / bolder / simpler?
The point is you should radicalize your existing experience concept by thinking in extremes.
Products and services come and go because they’re easily copied. But innovations that stand the test of time, are creating a unique customer experience.
CEO’s are beginning to recognize that customers expectations have changed, they are betting on customer experience to align their brands with customer expectations; you should too.
Remember, people love and pay for authenticity. It matters because in a world with abundant me-too’s, you don’t have to be quirky (though it helps) to stands out; you have to be valuable.