It always amazes me how two people can look at the same thing in such different ways.
One will look at absolutes, black and white, “one or the other”; the other at variations, shades of grey, “maybes”.
One will marvel at the color; the other at the shape. To each, the other’s perspective is lost, dulled, or unimportant.
It amazes me even more to think about this in terms of multiple people and views; of how these views affect others and the opinion that others may form as a result.
Of how these opinions can influence choices…the true essence of marketing.
With large entities, individual opinion does not carry much weight. If we are talking about restaurants (which we are), places like Cheesecake Factory and Chili’s have established a critical mass of opinion. One person’s opinion of the food, ambience, or service is drowned out and has little chance of swaying anyone’s choice to eat at places like these.
Now, apply that to a small family-owned restaurant struggling to survive.
Enter Emerald Restaurant in Austin.
When my friend invited me to join him for dinner at Emerald, the first thing I did was say yes. He has been before and had good things to say about it.
The second thing I did was hop on Google and check it out.
The URL displayed details like creative and authentic Irish fare on the menu, white table clothes, and cozy atmosphere. Small, romantic, unique. It was right down my alley.
I next went to Yelp to see what the reviews said about it. This is the point where my opinion could have been changed because of the varied perspectives of the reviews on Yelp. If I was too ensconced in my own perspective, and closed minded, I could have chosen not to go at all.
Some reviews focused on the condition of the restaurant and overlooked the potential for ambience.
Some reviews focused on the food and forgot to mention the warm, homey service and attention.
Some reviews focused on the service, labeled it slow, and failed to notice the smiles of the staff and feel of dining with family.
In my perspective, they all took out their magnifying glasses, leaned over the fine details like they were trying to identify and burn an insect, and hyper-focused on minute details that fell soley into the purvey of their perspective, instead of opening their eyes and taking in the entire experience as a whole.
In so doing, they missed the point of a place like Emerald.
Those who were focused strictly on the food missed out on the hospitality of their hostess. She was polite, pleasant, accommodating, and engaged. How often does one get that at Cheesecake Factory? And, by the way, the Irish potato soup, the Chateaubriand, and lobster tail were tasty, cooked just right, and came in huge portions!
Those who were focused on the service (which was perfect in my experience) missed out on the opportunity for an intimate dining experience, without the din of crashing dishes and crying babies.
Those who were focused on the worn veneer failed to appreciate the authentic artifacts that were all over the cottage, from the Coat of Arms in the foyer, to the green bathtub in the ladies room, to the Irish accessories adorning the table setting.
Is Emerald Restaurant going to make it to the Top Ten Restaurants of Austin or start a chain of restaurants all over the country? No. But, it’s clear that is not the intent of the owners.
If you can have an open mind and want to try something new, Emerald Restaurant may just be a venue for you to consider.
Come hungry and ready to relax and be treated like family.
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