Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded

That famous quote from Yogi Berra certainly applies to a favorite restaurant of ours: Sushi Masa. Despite very little advertising (I think the Yellow Pages might be it), they're always full.

In fact, the best advertising for this sushi hotspot is the queue of people that forms every day (see photo) just before it opens for lunch at 11:30. Their 15-20 tables are usually gone before the line is...and if you don't get there by 11:30 (sometimes 11:20), you won't get in. But the sushi is worth it, so the locals continue to wait in line for a chance at one of the tables.

The response of the average restaurateur to turning people away might be to expand...our open a second location...or a third. Not here. Their positioning seems to be a dose of exclusivity with a bit of the "best kept secret" thrown in for good measure. A large part of that aura is the daily queue. Do they make their patrons wait outside so passing drivers in downtown Sioux Falls will see the line and perceive the restaurant to be the popular stop? I doubt it, but if so, it seems to be working. It may seem weird for an advertising blog to ask this question, but: is your brand too accessible? Could it use a dose of exclusivity?

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