I have a hypothesis based a Cantonese expression: 平靚正which literally means Cheap, Attractive, and Great. To be one of the restaurants with good business, the restaurant should be exceptional at one of the following:
Background Image from: My Story~
- Cheap (平): You are offering the customer a bang for their bucks (cheaper than equivalent product in the market), where they know this is value for money (or even a real steal) without sacrificing on the quality or portion (if you do that, the customer will felt cheated). For example, the famous Tak Fok is offering crab for RM 18 per KG all year round, and the crab taste as good or even better than others; New Paris is known for delicious and affordable dishes, and their service is super-fast as well. Alternatively, you could experiment with Cheap by offering discounts during off-peak hours.
- Attractive (靚): Attractive here refer to the place rather than the food, where the environment or ambience of the restaurant must be special (different from conventional restaurants), where it feels very new-age, artistic, romantic, homey, grand or based on a special theme such as nature or anime. For example, Fullhouse focus on modern lifestyle; while café café are known to be classy or romantic. If your kopitiam looks like a OldTown clone, you don’t have the brand nor is your food cheaper; why not turn your kopitiam into something special, perhaps something which cater for a specific group of customer.
- Great (正): The food must be great. If being Attractive (靚) is like an Idol (like most boy or girl band who looks really good), the Great (正) is those who really can sing really well like Jacky Cheung or Celine Dion. The food must be so delicious that when people mentioned the specific dish, they could think of your restaurant immediately; perhaps not everyone can claim to the best Fried Kuey Teow in town, but your food must be known as delicious or high quality (a notch above your competitor, definitely not mediocre). Must be Good (better if Great), cannot be “so so” or “okay la”. For example, Pasta Zanmai and Dave’s are known to serve good food; and Nadeje Patisserie are known the serve the best Mille Crepe is Melaka, and probably the whole Malaysia as well.
Good luck to all the restaurant owners (and would be restaurant owners) out there, as we could like to enjoy more Cheap (平), Attractive (靚) or Great (正) :) so keep them coming.