Why do you go to a specific restaurant?

Last week, to celebrate last few days of 2011, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant named Walia in San Jose. My wife & I took our friends too, who flew from Detroit to visit us. Two weeks earlier, to celebrate my birthday, we had gone to the same restaurant.

I love Ethiopian food. Is Walia the best Ethiopian food? No! Not really. We go to this restaurant, because it is close to my house and more importantly is next to the best Ethiopian restaurant I have ever eaten named Zeni in San Jose. We go to Walia because we don’t want to wait for two hours in line to get into Zeni.

English: Alicha Begie and chicken, typical cus...
Image via Wikipedia

How long was the wait in Walia? Zero! In fact there were many empty tables. The food quality is not bad at all. In fact my wife believes the food in Walia is on par with Zeni, but then why is that Walia does not attract more people? What makes Zeni so special?

Zeni gives an experience of ethiopian culture apart from the good food. It is unique in that it is well decorated in keeping up with the ethiopian culture and traditions. The painting, the live music, the way everyone sits around a large plate and eat from your hand makes Zeni a great experience. Every time we celebrate someone’s birthday or someone’s success, Zeni adds the cherry.

In your business too, the touch of differentiation is very important. Your product could mimic everything that the best product in the market could do, but still fail, unless you have a differentiation.

In one of the most inspirational speeches by Arnold Schwarzenegger, he says that the out-of-the-box thinking separates great person from a common man. Arnold also said that he likes achieving things that everybody says can’t be achieved. Let your products do the unthinkable, unachievable, and be unique. Zeni makes the same products as Walia but the differentiation and uniqueness makes people wait in line for over two hours in cold (no, they do not take reservations!).

Build revolutionary technology products such as putting flash on iPhone, making robots work 10X faster than humans, keeping 300,000 mail boxes safe through pro-active monitoring, deploying SoX compliance, automating eBay auctions, and so on; Fortunately I was part of all of them.


  1. Agree, but I also tend to believe that innovation is never enough without ability to deliver.
    What happenned with Kodak’s 1100+ patent in digital photography? Bankrupty…


    1. Yeah you are right.
      In case of Kodak, I read that it was not that they could not deliver. They have he original patent for Digital photography in 1975, it was locked for 15+ years like the KFC sause as they feared cannibalism. What they forgot was that cannibalism were better than getting eaten by big fish or other fast movers.


  2. I seldom post feedback, but I looked at a ton of comments
    here on Why do you go to a specific restaurant? | The Science of Business (Sci-bi)
    but had a couple of requests for you if you do not mind.
    Might it be just me or are several of the above responses look as if
    they are coming from brain dead individuals? And also, if you’re posting on some different internet sites, I want to keep up with you. Would you put up a short list of your current social network pages such as your linkedin profile, Facebook url page or twitter feed?


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