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Posted at 7:41 am

2008 Sep 22

Innovation and Community at 2


Think you’re in a business where it’s tough to innovate and stand out in a crowded market?   How about if you were opening up a new restaurant in a small town?  There are lessons to be learned from  

They opened up recently in my home town of New Hope, PA, population 7,000 in Bucks County about halfway between Philadelphia and New York.  The owners of The Landing restaurant had an old tool shed/building they decided to renovate, and over some cocktails in a hot tub in the islands, they came up with an innovative approach:

It’s Members Only – you have to buy a $10 membership to get access, which gets you a key fob to get through the locked door.

It’s for Locals only – New Hope is a big tourist town, and they decided to focus on locals only.   There is no sign on the restaurant – you have to know about it first and hear about it from a member.

Focus and Free Coffee – All they do is breakfast, from 6AM to 11AM every day, with free self serve coffee.

They have fun – see The Rules.  Here’s a good example:

Rule 5: If you come in and say to me “Hey, you know what you should have on your menu ?” I will put it on the menu, but only on the days that you can come in and make it. Hence our guest chef program.

They’re off to a great start.  Charter memberships are sold out already, so now you have to know somebody to get your own membership.   All 31 seats were filled this weekend, and at 6AM this morning there were a half dozen locals already there. 

They have fun and love what they do, and it shows.  Here’s another local example from Best of France Antiques in Dolyestown, PA – the sign on the door says, "We encourage broad smiles, loud laughter, small talk, big dreams, sitting on and touching our furniture, and please, tell us what antiques your grandma had."   Life is too short not to have fun at what you do, and customers can feel it.



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