French chef Daniel Boulud has brought an innovative take on both French and American cuisine to cities across the world, and has a fervent following among well-heeled gastronomes to show for it. It takes more than fancy food and high prices to garner such a reliable clientele, and a look at how Boulud operates reveals valuable insights for growing your business and grabbing the attention of high-end clients, no matter what industry you’re in.
Appealing to bigger clients is a vital step for any business owner, and is the difference between middling operations and top-tier industry leaders. Attaining a loftier class of customer is no simple task, but we can look to someone who’s reached the pinnacle of his profession for some five-star inspiration.
Requiring perfection is one of the hallmarks of high achievement. To present the best to your clients, you need to have full faith in your product or service, and that means knowing that it’s the absolute best quality possible. As executive chef, Boulud has his (well-scrubbed) hands in the creation of every menu item, testing them to perfection before they reach the menu. Even design and music choices came from the top. He could easily delegate this job, but then the perfection that he and his restaurant guests demand would not be guaranteed.
When you refuse to take shortcuts in crafting your services, their quality will be apparent. High-end clients are used to the best, and that means any signs of sloppiness will serve as a huge red flag. Taking strict care of every detail while staying mindful of your organization's needs ensures that your personal stamp will mean something. When your name is synonymous with quality, you don’t just attract high-end clients, you keep them. Speaking of which...
The Value of Your Name
While there are certainly some drawbacks to making your name into your brand, when it’s done right you’ll be making your persona and, more importantly, your reputation a mark of distinction. There’s a reason Daniel’s name or initials adorn the majority of his NYC eateries. When his clientele see the Boulud name on the menu, they know the unmatched quality of the food they’re about to enjoy is a world-renowned fact.
When you put your name on the building, there’s no backing out. Demonstrating to your clients that you’re fully invested in what you’re offering them is a major risk. Any hit to your reputation, whether business-related or personal, could sink the entire operation. It can be a dangerous path, but when executed carefully and correctly, a high-end name brings in high-end clients by the bowlful.
Hitting the Mark with Consistency
Boulud’s biggest claim to fame may just be his take on an American classic: the hamburger. Incorporating foie gras, oxtail and an exclusive mix of beef varieties, his db Burger, served up at db Bistro Moderne, definitely deserves the title of the Rolls-Royce of burgers. This culinary artwork takes three days to prepare but still gets served at a clip of 120 per day. Not McDonald’s numbers, but of course that’s not what he’s after. It’s just about enough to keep his well-heeled customers satisfied.
Even though it’s much more than an assembly-line foodstuff, buyers know what they’re getting when they order Boulud’s specialty. Meticulous preparation ensures that every burger is worthy of the Boulud name. That consistency is rewarded with a loyal clientele, keeping his global fine dining empire on everyone’s lips. Great care goes into delivering consistency, and when you always make that effort, satisfied clients keep coming back for more.
Great ideas can come from everywhere if you know how to look for them. The intersection of the world of high art and fine dining are certainly not lost on Daniel, who has written about the inspiration he's drawn from friend and renowned artist Vik Muniz. While the chef is certainly creative in his own right, it’s fascinating to see how creativity can generate results for both visual art and the edible kind.
Part of the difficulty in attracting high-end clients is that they’ve seen it all before. It takes more than the usual pitch to draw them in; they need to see something that sparks their interest and holds it. Thinking differently can be a key element to grabbing clients’ attention, and as long as you’ve got the quality to back it up, your innovative ideas can lead to great things for you and your business.
Take the Time, Do It Right
While creating something great, whether a meal or a business, certainly does require harnessing some forward momentum, it can be a deadly mistake to let that momentum carry you too fast. You want to be sure your product or service is the best it can be, and that means taking the time to ensure the preparatory work is done correctly rather than quickly. A rushed product might grab some people’s attention, but cut corners always reveal themselves in time. To set yourself up for long-term success, you need to perfect your process.
The same principle is in place with some of Daniel’s signature dishes. When preparing his famed roasted chicken or the aforementioned db Burger, he or his chefs never serve these meals hot out of the oven. Letting the cooked item sit for about 20 minutes might sound counterintuitive, but the internal heat balance from this rest period makes for an exquisitely balanced flavor profile. Can you recall ever doing this in your home kitchen? Probably not, but your kitchen doesn’t have three Michelin stars. Accomodating the needs of those with highest standards, diners or clients, means taking the time to ensure you’re creating something great.
Daniel Boulud’s gastronomic empire currently stretches across New York City, to London, Miami, Singapore, and beyond. Even if you don’t share his global ambitions, you and your business can glean key insight from the way he’s built his. With a dedication to quality, consistency, pride and innovation, your business will be positioned to attract those high-end clients that line up outside of Daniel’s restaurants worldwide. For people with expensive taste, pedestrian simply won’t do.