Back when I started my business in 2005, and was trying to figure out how to differentiate myself in the marketplace, the big business buzz-word was all about defining your USP.
UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION
Ewwww. Just writing that makes me queasy.
Because it’s such a disservice to EVERYONE.
You – or your company – are NOT just one thing.
You are brilliant, funny, odd, smart in some areas and not so smart in other areas, quirky, generous, bossy – the list goes on and on.
And to boil our businesses down to one thing, flatlines our dimensions.
USPs are LAZY. And pollute creativity!
And are for people who aren’t willing to do the real work it takes to uncover their positioning.
Sure the formula works for minimal success, but it’s like eating plain oatmeal – safe, dull, and bland.
Nothing against oatmeal. But everything against a business that plays it oatmeal safe.
And since we’re talking about food – and yes, this has everything to do with chucking your USP formula out the window . . .
. . . a few weekends ago, Chad and I were on our way to brunch when we spotted a brand new eatery – The Lynn on Bryant – and decided to give it a try.
I’m soooo glad we did.
From the second we walked in, it was obvious how much care had been put into every last detail to create a GREAT dining (or brunch) experience.
It wasn’t just the amazing food (Chad claimed the eggs Benedict were the best he ever had – and he’s a tough judge!) and outstanding service, but all the choices Peter Ireland, owner & chef, made to EXACTLY represent his business philosophy.
(That’s what Chad had for brunch. Yum. Yum.)
Just a few of the highlights were . . .
: Beautifully designed cafe with a sunny view – perfect for brunch.
: Two separate gorgeous and cozy dining rooms – you just know you’ll get intimate attention, and we did.
: Thin drinking glasses – so elegant. I felt like I was at a fancy dinner party!
: Real linen napkins, not some polyester blend imitation.
: Take away picnics that you can order for a romantically delicious afternoon.
: Real diaper changing tables in the bathroom (not the cheap plastic kind) – families were obviously welcome.
: Dyson Air Dryer in the bathrooms too – and you know how I feel about Dyson. OBSESSED.
None of these things happened by accident. It took a vision, plus the tenacity to pursue that vision right down to the thread-count on the tablecloths.
And besides the elegant drinking glasses, the linen napkins, and the amazing food, the best was a notecard on the table that was basically a ‘manifesto’ for what Peter stood for (and I’m kicking myself for not snapping a photo of it).
Now, because kicking myself doesn’t solve anything, I hopped on the phone and asked them to email me his ‘manifesto.’
Here it is ….
“It’s a pleasure to work with such a wide array of people equally enthusiastic about fresh and local products—from mushroom foragers to local cheese makers, butchers, vegetable farmers, and our customers.
My training is in French cuisine and, at the Lynn on Bryant, we aim to strike a balance between respect for tradition and the revival of local, ingredient-driven cuisine. I love the fierce attention to detail and quality in French cuisine so all our food is made in-house—from pâté to prosciutto, sorbets to stocks, pastries and breads.
By following the seasons, we not only honor our agricultural traditions but can enjoy food at its finest. Rhubarb, asparagus, baby squashes, the tiniest lettuces of the highest quality appear on the menu in the spring and summer. And we celebrate the fall and winter months with root vegetables, cabbages and heartier fare.
My passion for food inspires me every day; it’s a pleasure to share this with you.”
Peter Ireland, Chef & Owner
Your dinner is prepared with products from the following local farms, purveyors & individuals: Bergin Fruit & Nut, Bix Produce, Bullfrog’s Eat My Fish Trout Farm, Classic Provisions, Coastal Seafood, Eden Farms Pork, France 44 Cheese, Grass Run Farms Beef, Great Ciao, Kadejan Farms Chicken, LaBore Farm, Laughing Loon, Stone’s Throw Farm, Chris Young, Matt Miller, Ted King and Vince Jones just to name a few.
Peter stands for something (well actually many things) and his passion for food and families has completely informed his entire business model.
Not only is he selling you the most delicious meals he can, he is selling you the EXPERIENCE of carefully prepared, fresh seasonal food that nourishes both your body and your soul – he does it in an environment that makes me want to go back. Like NOW!
Taking a stand in your business is one of the most important things you can do. It lets people know who you are, and what you want to give them.
It’s both the gateway into the foundation of your offerings, and a touchstone for you to return to again and again.
You’ll never forget who you are when you take a stand. And better yet, you’ll never need a UPS.