The “You” in Menu

Header Image: “Culex sp larvae” by (Image: James Gathany, CDC)  Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

Today’s post comes from marketing maven Spin Williams, who is always in residence at The Meeting That Never Ends.

One of the top restaurant marketing trends of 2015 is locally sourced, organic foods.

If it’s local, people are fascinated. Why? Because a lot of them have no idea food can be grown nearby. That all connects to the concept of going “out” for dinner, which the baby boomers learned to think of as an exotic treat when they were growing up in the hardscrabble 1940’s and ’50’s.

“Out” was always a better place to get a meal than at boring old “in”, where mom was likely to serve up the same gray meatloaf or chicken hotdish again tonight.

“Out” might bring you an exotic choice like chicken wings, or at least the chance to have a milk shake with your meal.  The chances of that went way up if dad ordered a beer.

The message to impressionable youngsters of that era – the farther “out” you went, the better the meal.

But yesterday as we were going over the latest science stories at The Meeting That Never Ends we saw this bit of research about how mosquitoes choose who they’ll bite.  The clear indication is that the little pointy-nosed critters are lured by something genetic that is shared among families!

The assumption here is that it’s a fundamental element of body odor.   Identical twins were found to be equally attractive to the tiny bloodsuckers of summer.

A couple of great marketing ideas quickly came out of this.

My favorite – identify particularly scrumptious bloodlines and present them as “decoy guests” for hire at high-buck summertime parties. If we know mosquitoes love those Johnsons, or just can’t get enough of the Herrera sisters, hire them to draw the swarms away from the more important invitees.

The downside?

Having to segregate the bait people from the rest, and possible lawsuits over West Nile Virus.

But then we realized something else – if we completely disregard the scientific method and turn this research on its head, it could be an early indication that the reverse is true and people also have genetic predispositions to like certain foods!

For restaurateurs, that means there is this tantalizing future scenario – when guests arrive they check in at the hostess stand and are given a quick DNA test to determine their pre-ordained dining tendencies.

That person then receives a menu tailored to their genetic food preference profile! Imagine – a restaurant that could hand you a menu where you’ll like absolutely EVERYTHING!

Would you go there?

Of course you would, as long as your family doesn’t also have an inherent fussiness over things like genetic privacy.

Our bet is that most people will be perfectly fine with it, and the establishment could also work some side agreements with marketing firms to get a secondary income on the data!

Yes, we realize that people get particularly overwrought about misuse of personal information. But for the most part, when our data is harvested we don’t even know about it, so the pain is nearly invisible.

The only obvious downside we see for consumers in this would be a tendency for restaurants with outdoor seating to put especially tasty people in a separate area, to draw away the attention of any needle-nosed intruders!

Yours in Marketing,

Do you come from an especially flavorful family?

25 thoughts on “The “You” in Menu”

  1. Weeelllll, Dad was the second case of West Nile in Sioux City a number of years ago, so we must appeal to at least some kinds of mosquitos.

    I’m hoping I didn’t get that gene.

    Otherwise, I’m not sure “excellent taste” is something we are particularly known for. Hard work, yes. Endurance, yes. Exquisite taste- that one we have to work for.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do not like mosquitoes;
    they seem not to favor of me.
    I am not meat to hornets,
    Am not fast food to the bee.
    In the world of the insect,
    I am old dry white bread.
    In the eyes of the spiders,
    I have not any food cred.
    Maybe to all that brood.
    I am just junk food.
    I’ve not met a cannibal.
    I shun Mr. Hannibal.
    On the menu list me
    but fat-free
    I will never be.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Mosquitos love me but not the rest of my family. I wonder if it has to do with me having Type A- blood and they having Type O+ blood?


  4. Don’t really know how flavorful anyone in my family is, but I’m betting we’re all on the tart side if we are flavorful at all. Colorful? Now that’s an entirely different thing, and there’s a peacock or two in the mix.


  5. I come from a long line of Norwegian Lutherans who like their food bland and mostly colorless (except for occasionally peas or unnaturally bright Jell-O salad). Unless the mosquito in question is fond of bland Norwegian blood (raised on a lot of dairy because the family, until my grandfather’s generation, were mostly dairy farmers), I doubt I would be much of a feast.


  6. the notion of a match being genetically paired from the gleaned information available through the modern science genomes todays world makes available is an intriguing concept. the idea that the foods the spices the nuances of the likes dislikes tendencies of my preference can be filed away and dialed up in a menu like presentation has great appeal from an entrepreneurial perspective. dont offer me sauerkraut tonight i am in my balsamic vinegar mode and the potatoes should be double baked with butter sour cream parmesan cheese and sauteed mushrooms. the page could be turned to mexican italian french greek but the inclination toward a little hot sauce on my chinese and the correct level of heat could be very enticing from a culinary point of view. maybe the world where bill gates by wearing a micro chip is able to walk into a room and have his music preferences and the choices for art in the picture frames could be made even more rewarding by having the folks at mcdonalds know how much salt to put on my fores and how much cream to put in my coffee. i like my salad without the croutons and with a little extra spinach. the plus minus of the equation becomes the presentation because the resteraunt in chicago that i have never been to can with the information on my chip now prepare the correct spice combination along with the items i enjoy instead of all the other options i dont need to be confronted with.
    i have always aid that subway neednt have all those other items on the menu. i only need my sandwich. i love the idea of genetically engineered menu based franchise possibilities. an app on my smart phone could offer the 15 locations in town with the wait times and the physical architecture of the location becoming the issue in the choice. if a latin flair or a chinese is preferred maybe the location could matched up but if i am at a location that offers french cuisene adn i am in the mood for italian the oregano could replace the cream sauce and i could fully engage a party of 10 without having to dictate my personal preferreences. i do get a bit concerned about not having the full menu to inspire the culinary neurons to click but i guess that could be offered on the app with a click to include options instead of auto default.
    this may occupy my brain for more than a minute or two. how about home delivery possibilities. pandora of the tongue….if you like this youll like the choices offered here and i do remember not to ever use msg or any shell fish. ingredients for cooking yourself is becoming fashionable and custom making the menu offering isn this work a day world had intriguing possibilities doesnt it?
    it goes on and on. mosquitos have only one focus. i do variations on a theme. i dont think i will go into a partnership with spin williams but i may thank him personally for an inspiring thought. ive been to that meeting that never ends and they always have my earl grey tea. i appreciate them remembering.


    1. It’s 3:55 AM, and this is what tim’s brain serves up! Amazing, simply amazing – especially if there was no drugs or alcohol involved.

      As I was reading it, all I could think of was this: Fat chance, most servers ask if I want cream with my coffee; I say no thanks, and two minutes later they serve me coffee and cream. Don’t know why they ask since most of them don’t remember my response.


    2. I have decided to make early morning my productive time
      It seems to be the available time when my brain is sharp
      Drugs and alcohol are not my friends on this sort of thing
      They are good for after I’m done and have a couple hours to blow which is not in the cards of late

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is a Belgian Chicken stew braised with onions, shallots, celery, celery root, carrots, and leeks, wine, and chicken stock,then cream and egg yokes are added when the chicken is falling off the bone and the vegetables are pureed. We had it in Montreal at the TinTin restaurant in the old Port. It is daughter’s favorite.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.