What entrepreneurs can learn from chef Jose Andres

For those not in the know, Jose Andres is a chef who owns several restaurants in the Washington DC area. I saw him on TV the other night and found myself more interested in his business acumen than his cuisine (but then again, I’m not much of a cook).

I was particularly intrigued by the “restaurant” that was profiled on the show: minibar by Jose Andres. I use the term restaurant loosely, because minibar is small - really small. It is, in fact, a bar with exactly six seats. Three chefs work behind the bar preparing and serving 30-35 small courses to their six guests. It looks to be as much theater as it is dining.

There are two seatings nightly. At a cost of $120 per person, the place can’t hope to pull in more than $1,440.00 per night. Subtract food costs, supplies, salaries, rent, and who knows what other overhead, and you aren’t left with much.

So why does Andres bother? Because it makes a great story. It makes people talk. It gets him on TV. It’s no accident that Andres incorporated his own name into the name of the restaurant.

In addition to the word of mouth and celebrity that it generates, I’d be willing to bet that Andres sees minibar as a lab of sorts where he can get inspired and experiment with new ideas on a willing audience. I imagine that minibar patrons are open minded and happy to provide lots of useful feedback about new creations.

Some observations:

What can we learn from this:

By the way, if you ever make it in to minibar, please try that little mojito yolk thing and let me know what you think. It looks yummy ;-)

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