06 May

Passion Sells

I went to see my friend’s new restaurant last week. It’s a raw food place.
This doesn’t mean that my friend gives free food poisoning with every meal. The basic premise of raw food is:

‘foods that haven’t been cooked, treated or processed in any way at temperatures above 105 – 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Above this temperature the enzymes in the food begin to degrade losing a great part of their nutritional value.’

The foods can be ‘cooked’ in other ways e.g fermented or pickled. All of the food is vegetarian, and all of it is healthy.
It can sometimes be quite a hard sell, to those not already into it, as it has that ‘faddy food’ tag.
What impressed me though, was my friend’s genuine passion for what he does.
The restaurant has just moved from Queen’s Park, to bigger premises in Notting Hill.
However, it was never started with the idea of ‘let’s make loads of money from raw food’: it started with ‘I love this type of food, and I want to get other people into it too’.
After that thought, it was just a case of ‘let’s see where this goes’.

The reason it has taken off – from what I’ve seen – is that my friend is completely into what he’s doing, whether he’s speaking to a raw food aficionado or a complete sceptic who’s never tried it.
He’s utterly convincing when he’s talking about a raw food diet – not because he’s trying to be, but because he actually gives a sh*t about his product.

When I went popped in to see him, the new place had only been open three days and, already, he had ‘regulars’.
One girl came in who’d been buying four of his ‘superfood juices’ per day. I watched my friend go through the health benefits of all of the juices, with a passion and animation I’ve never seen in relation to fruits and veg! None of this was contrived though.

I really hope that, when he expands, this passion stays within the company.
It’s simple: if you (whether a one-man band or a big brand) still have a passion for what you do/offer, then you don’t need to convince people that you’re really into it – they can just tell that you are.

As soon as a company switches to, purely ‘what can I do to make money?’, this comes across very quickly.
Think about it: when most large companies now trot out the automated message ‘we’re sorry to keep you waiting, your call is important to us’, do you really believe them? Do you still believe they’re passionate about what their company does, or customer service? …. or do you think they don’t give a sh*t – they know you’ll wait: what choice do you have?

Of course it’s hard, when a brand gets to a certain size, to come across as passionate to thousands (if not millions) of customers, and not start automating certain services.
However, I can think of companies that still – whatever they do – come across as passionate, including; Virgin (almost anything they touch), Graze, John Lewis, and – love them or hate them – the various newspapers (think how entrenched the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror are in their views).

I’d love to add more to that list, but I’m really struggling to think of others at the moment. Can anyone think of brands that still seem passionate?



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