“I went to a Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles, like the number seven restaurant in Los Angeles, and I couldn’t believe that this was the place. It was in a strip mall somewhere, but it was utterly fantastic. The presentation on the exterior was atrocious, and sometimes I think that is done deliberately. In a sense, there is a category of restaurants where it’s all about food. Like, with a name like Smuckers it has to be good. We couldn’t be this crowded with such terrible frontage.”
That’s Rory Sutherland on episode 201 of Risky Conversations. Tyler Cowen, more here, uses the same idea and beyond, “When I heard that name I thought, this place must be great. When Americans want to eat Ethiopian food, what kind of name are they looking for? The Red Sea? Queen of Sheba? Fine. But when it’s EYO Sports bar you know it’s really for Ethiopians.”
The biggest returns in life come from new information or new analysis. Though it’s helpful to keep in mind that not everyone wants the same returns or if they do, on the same timeline. Dining isn’t only about the food, there are many jobs to be done with a meal out. However, if one of your jobs is different (in scope or time), you can often hire for a great price.
For food, follow the lead of Rory and Tyler, and find good food at places with bad names.