Saturday, July 26, 2008

Learn The Mövenpick Trick

My family occasionally trots into Marché Mövenpick for a special-occasion dinner. We only go about three times a year. Yet each time I inevitably ask myself, "Now why do I keep coming back?"

I mean, the food is tasty but isn't exactly top-class. Furthermore, the prices are suspect: Paying RM9 for a small bowl of sauteed mushrooms feels a little wrong (which leads me to reflect on why I have less trouble paying RM11 for a Latte Grande at Starbucks).

But if the product and its competitiveness are only so-so, why hasn't it closed down yet? Why was it more than 80% full this evening?

The solution undoubtedly has to do with its ordering system. All guests are given a 'passport' which they are required to produce when they go to any one of the ten or so 'national counters', each serving different kinds of food. You order your food, they serve it to you and stamp your passport: Walk And Stamp (W.A.S.).

W.A.S. gives people an active role to play. A role in turn gives customers something to talk about. A conversation spurs interest and (slight) suspense when you friends look and ask what you brought back from the spread. And when you're done, the conversation resumes: What are you getting next? Waffles? Pies?

In a word, the W.A.S. system - not unlike a buffet system - creates continuous attention and conversations which otherwise wouldn't be there.

Everyone likes to talk about what they're doing. If the point of conversation if your product or service, and the talk is generally excitable and positive, voilà!

The trick is to give them a reason to do so on their own accord. Let people talk without you asking or reminding them to. Marché Mövenpick excels at this, and proves it's much more than a restaurant dressed up as a market.

No comments: