How do restaurants keep customers coming back and attracting new ones? All of us become critics when we try something new. From the outside look of the restaurant to the choice of napkins, every little detail factors into the way customers rate it. The atmosphere and decorations are some of the main essentials; however, the most important factor that makes a dining experience memorable is the skill of the chef. For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, when it was announced that Thomas Keller, a world recognized chef, was planning on visiting Hong Kong, more than 1000 people signed up on a waiting list. The owners of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, the restaurant where the chef will be hosting his meals, have confirmed that the price of the 11-course dinner will be HK$6,477 per person (about US$835).
This is only one example of how well a skilled chef can bring clientele to a restaurant and increase its popularity. Another way is to keep an eye on in the newest trends of what customers expect from the menu. A good selection of wines has been a must for years. Other fads have been olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and specialty salts. The newest trend in Asia is butter. The selection is just as important as the presentation. From meticulously sculpted butter pyramids to ceremonies of serving butter, it is not unusual to judge a restaurant by the butter in places such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
It is interesting to see if this will simply be a fad or a new standard. It is hard to think of butter as an example of fine food when compared to olive oil which has already made a name for itself in restaurants. Nonetheless, knowing what the customer wants is key to success and if it is butter that they want, chefs and restaurant owners will have to oblige.