In Praise of Restaurant Meals

|

…and other things that cater to intangibles.

In the NY Times, former Reason editor Virginia Postrel writes,

For successful restaurants, aesthetics is no longer an afterthought. Customers are paying for memories, not just fuel.

What's true for restaurants is true across the economy. New economic value increasingly comes from experiences.

Americans have not stopped buying stuff, of course….But the marginal value of tangibles versus intangibles has shifted….

Products as well as services increasingly distinguish themselves through aesthetics, adding emotional value to practical use. This trend confounds those who equate "quality" with function.

Whole thing here.

Via Arts & Letters Daily.

Advertisement

NEXT: Gilmore More More More

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Customers are paying for memories, not just fuel.”

    And, apparently, lots of crazy crap hung on the walls.

  2. “This trend confounds those who equate “quality” with function.”

    Is this just a long-winded way of saying “engineers”? 🙂

  3. Man, this Virginia chick knows more riffs than Willie Dixon.

  4. “This trend confounds those who equate “quality” with function.”

    Is this just a long-winded way of saying “engineers”?

    Well, most engineers will *claim* to to be all about function.

    Until you show us one of those new PC cases with the clear sides and the neon lights on the water-cooling system. 🙂

    In all seriousness, though, most experienced engineers understand that an aesthetically pleasing system that does 90% of what the customer wants is probably going to make them happier than a crappy-looking system that does 95% of what they want. There’s also a perception (an inaccurate one, but oh well) that “making stuff look good” is the easy part. So customers at some level believe that if a system *looks* bad, it probably *is* bad, because the people who made it couldn’t even do the “easy part” right.

  5. The engineers have done so well that most comparable tools are functionally excellent. Differentiation must be made by industrial design and marketing.

    I think Postrel is also saying that we are all suffciently rich with the tools for surviving and living healthfully, so we can spend more resources seeking pleasure and refining our identities. The survival mindset lingers, seeing a trip to Vegas as a waste, since we don’t need it to live.

    The survival mindset and its toolmaking industries also delivered lifetime support and security for workers. The new ephemeral style industries do not offer the same security, which reinforces the perception that they are less valuable.

  6. Until you show us one of those new PC cases with the clear sides and the neon lights on the water-cooling system. 🙂

    I will admit to have considered dismantling my laptop and slipping in red and green pieces of cellaphane so that my apple lights up in color 🙂

    (but that is ALL I will admit to as far as non-functional tinkering!)

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.