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by Kevin Coupe

I was in Florida last weekend and a friend of mine and I went out for dinner at a Fort Lauderdale restaurant called Rocco’s Tacos. I’d never been there before, but my friend had - plus, the one hour-plus wait spoke volumes about the place’s popularity. (There apparently are several Rocco’s scattered across Florida, but I’;d never heard of it.)

We put ourselves on the waiting list, ordered a bunch of margaritas, and engaged in some people watching on Las Olas Blvd.

Once we got a table, we ordered dinner - four tacos apiece, plus chips and guacamole to start.

That’s when the magic happened. That’s when a young man named Tory rolled his cart up to our table, inquired whether we wanted our guac hot, medium or mild, and then set about making it fresh, right there in front of us.

First of all, the guacamole and fresh chips were amazing. (So were the tacos. And the margaritas were so good that I was glad we’d taken the water taxi to get there.)

But it was the making of the guacamole that was so impressive. Tory estimated that he’s made some 6,000 orders to this point in his career, and so he knew what he was doing … and, having a ton of personality, he was a great ambassador for the restaurant experience.

I was reminded of a visit that I made a couple of years ago to the Northgate Gonzales Market in Norwalk, California, where one of the many outstanding features is a fresh guacamole cart that gets rolled out every morning, staffed by folks who make it to order … and pretty much every morning, there is a line of folks waiting for it to get up and running.

I did a story about it for MNB that you can see here.

The Rocco’s experience spoke to me about the power of the theatrical experience - even small ones - within a retail environment. These are the things that can differentiate a store, create a reputation, empower an ambassador, establish an advantage.

Theatrical experiences cannot, by their very definition, be replicated online. The Rocco’s experience was a reminder of that … and it was an Eye-Opener.


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