While it seems as if customers are always clamoring for the latest and greatest offerings, those new items won’t come in handy unless they understand the basics of how to cook, what gadgets to use for what food or what knife slices or dices the best.
Tony Curtis-Wellings, owner of Bee Cave, TX-based Faraday’s Kitchen Store, recently told GOURMET INSIDER that he recently spent time asking his customers questions about products and realized that they needed a bit more help than he thought.
“I sat at the knife counter and I asked my customers, ‘What do you use a pairing knife for?’, ‘What do you use a utility knife for?’ and ‘What do you use a Chef’s knife for?’ and less than 5% of the people I asked knew what to use the three basic knives for,” he explained. “For the last 12 years, I’ve been trying to do advanced cooking with our community and we are still fundamentally at the basics.”
He explained that he studied the demographics of his customers and has many customers in two positions – older generations who mostly ate out, but have now returned to their kitchen on a quest to eat a bit healthier, and younger generations who want to make and eat gourmet-style food at home. However, he realized that neither had the skill set to cook the types of meals they would like. After analyzing these demographics, he was able to take a step back, check out his inventory and realize that he needed to take a more basic approach.
“One of the new initiatives for 2017 for Faraday’s is to go back to the basics. [The industry] has too many items,” he said. “I think instead of introducing more items, let’s go back to the basics and get, say, those knife skills to be better.”
To that, Curtis-Wellings said that while he will also monitor the inventory and sale of the basic products, he will also be adding new cooking classes in order to help his customers learn the skills they will need to build on in order to have success in the kitchen. For example, he said, he is going to be adding a class dedicated to using a pairing knife correctly.
“If we get the basic skills back in front of customers, I think they are going to be more excited to go out and go try cooking,” said Curtis-Wellings.