I went to a new Japanese restaurant last night that specializes in basic favorites like "ramen" and "donburi," (rice bowl topped with goodies). I should have known better. The decor was too trendy. Ramen traditionally is a cheap meal, often street food slurped up while standing by tired salarymen at the train station. Donburi has been "fast food-ified" through the beef bowl chain Yoshinoya, which typically sells you a steaming mound of yumminess for about 380 yen ($3.17). Both are the meal of choice for many a poor Japanese student.
I ordered an "unadon," (eel rice bowl), last night, and it came smothered in a cornucopia of items; some sweet, some stringy, and an enormous mountain of Japanese red pickled ginger. Normally there are a few shreds, but this gingery, sweet & sour combo overpowered even the rich flavor of the eel and colored everything red to boot. The toppings just didn't belong there. The restaurant was trying so hard to stand out and distinguish itself from the standard issue noodles and rice, that it ended up destroying what's really good about Japanese noodles and rice. This happens to too many restaurants and retailers.
Today on Power Lunch, Stacey Widlitz, President of SW Retail Advisors, said Target needs to stop trying to be all things to all people. It should stick with what it does best.
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We remember what happened during the grand experiment of JC Penney; ditching its coupons, and subsequently alienating their core customers who really liked coupons. They brought them back, and the customers have been coming back too.
And McDonalds has finally decided to get "back to basics" and simplify its menu after realizing that more items to choose from doesn't necessarily translate into more profits. It just ended up creating more inventory, extra work for the kitchen staff, and longer wait times for the customer.
So, call me a boring purist, but I know you may be one too. At heart, we're often creatures of habit, and consume what we know and love. And I know I don't want my rice bowl messed with.