As we mentioned last week, New Orleans is currently one of the top three best markets for new restaurants in the country. It is also becoming a hot spot for more innovative culinary ventures. One group of entrepreneurs—including EMH’s own Francisco “Paco” Robert—decided to take a risk and flip the traditional restaurant model upside down. Their unique creation, Dinner Lab, differs from a traditional restaurant in that it lacks a constant location and a permanent chef. Instead, Dinner Lab seeks to create a once in a lifetime dining experience by offering a delicious meal prepared by a guest chef at a new location each time. Yearly members enjoy the right to purchase dinner tickets before they are released to the public, which adds an element of exclusivity to the concept.
Although Dinner Lab is revolutionary in the food service industry, the idea of being disruptive can apply to any industry and is a good way for entrepreneurs to gain a unique, identifiable, and sustainable position in the market. How do you compete in an established industry? Change the rules of the game, just like Dinner Lab is doing. F.W. Woolworth set new trends in the retail industry in the late 19th century by allowing customers to touch and feel the products as they were laid out in a store, and not held behind a desk. IKEA changed the furniture industry by eliminating delivery. Dell revolutionized the personal computer industry by allowing consumers to purchase directly from the source and cutting out the middleman. Although disruptive concepts like Dinner Lab must fight to change the traditional paradigms of doing business and gain customer acceptance, the company has a promising future as its popularity is rapidly gaining in New Orleans.