Introducing New Flavors May Be the Key to Success

By Patrick McNerthney 

Many people relish the first sip or the perfect bite. This is a completely foreign concept to me as I see all food and beverages as opponents who must be crushed mercilessly and quickly. Thus the thought of delicately fluttering my lips at the frothy edges of that hot caramel macchiato or layering my fork with delicately marbled prime rib, scalloped potatoes and just the right amount of horseradish, seems like a complete waste of time. I suggested installing a trough at my spot at the dinner table, but my wife protests for some reason. 

The true take-away here: people covet first sips and perfect bites. 

(See? This is what it looks like.)

Certainly food and beverage enterprises – particularly restaurants and bars – are keen on first sips and perfect bites, because putting stuff into people’s mouths is the crux of their business model. Yet how do they keep customers loyal? How do they make the business of satiation sustainable when satisfying implies a finite act? Eventually “first” sips and “perfect” bites turn into “subsequent” sips and bites – a.k.a. good, but not as good – so how do they keep folks coming back?  

Three words: Pumpkin. Spice. Latte. 

Which is Starbucks’ famous version of:

  • today’s special 
  • guest chef
  • seasonal menu
  • staff’s pick  

Or whatever terminology food and beverage businesses use to introduce new flavors (which are often secretly just the idea of new flavors…looking at you McDonalds…) and assault people’s tastebuds in such a manner that they don’t go somewhere else.  

That’s right, food and beverages businesses are in the business of creating first sips and perfect bites as often as they can, and they’re really good at it. 

Which brings up an interesting point when it comes to our work: Why the heck don’t we come up with new flavors?

If the strategies, tactics, tasks, and steps we take at work are effective and doing their job, that’s great. But it won’t last forever, mostly because the world around us is constantly changing. Or, as my friend likes to say, “Change is the only constant.”

The instant we lean on a previous pattern or action out of habit or laziness or even just because we think it works – without evaluating whether or not it actually does, or whether it will work in the future – we not only stop gaining ground, we begin to lose ground.

The solution? Make some Pumpkin Spice Lattes. If something is working, make sure it stays working. But also look at new variations to test, adjustments to make, what can be removed, and what can be honed.

(It’s actually fairly simple to make.)

That’s what a food and beverage business does, right? Starbucks says, “People love our drinks, but they REALLY love our seasonal (and scarcely offered) Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Peppermint Mochas! This happens to be a convenient way to ensure they come to us when their patterns change in response to the seasons, like when school starts in the fall, or holiday travel begins.”

Similarly, a new steakhouse may be thinking, “We have great steaks and we don’t want to lose that, but this plant-based protein thing seems to be a big deal. More and more people want it… Maybe we should give that a shot.”

So, when was the last time you introduced a new flavor at work? 

Fine Art Miracles (FAM) believes creative expression is the Pumpkin Spice Latte version of caring for your residents and loved ones. Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, Multi-Sensory Sessions and our brand-new Drama Therapy programs are bold, innovative, and empathetic ways to help the elderly, children with challenges, and people of varying abilities gain ground in their own lives. It turns out the act of making creates feelings of self-worth, relevance, and confidence, while building a connection to the past, and hope for the future.

Sounds like a pretty good recipe for happiness! Please reach out to find out more about how FAM’s programs are the variation you need to create that first sip or perfect bite for those you under your care. It’s a great way to ensure they keep returning to you for support in their fight against the negative effects of social isolation. 

Well, as usual all this talk about food and beverages has made me quite famished. I think there’s some leftover cherry pie in the fridge. Maybe if I layer it on my fork, with some whipped cream, maybe a smidge of vanilla ice cream…I could make the perfect bite. Don’t tell anyone; especially my wife.


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