In yesterday’s post I wrote about uniqueness and how it improves competitive position to the point of essentially becoming a monopoly. By coincidence, on the same day I discovered a very good example of this effect.
In this video, Charlie Rose interviews Spanish chef Ferran Adrià about his philosophy and his restaurant El Bulli near Barcelona. Adrià was recently voted the best chef in the world and is renowned for his highly individual, avant-garde approach to his profession.
One result of this is that El Bulli is perceived as a unique restaurant and, as a consequence, it is extremely difficult to obtain reservations. In 2010, the restaurant will be open for less than six months of the year on an average of only five days per week. Booking for 2010 opened in January, and seats for the entire year will probably sell out before the month is over. On the same page, the restaurant points out that processing the reservations will be slow, and makes no apology for this fact.
Evidently, Adrià has created a product which delivers such unique value that he can afford luxuries (such as remaining closed for more than half the year) that would be inconceivable for the vast majority of companies. This, I believe, is a very good example of the benefits of uniqueness.