The (Business-Delicious) Sticky Sandwich – “Yes, the restaurant did get new owners, which is the simple explanation for the positive change. But for the most part, the menu and the restaurant employees have remained the same. So a more important question is, how did the new owners do it? From my observations, it all started with a new sandwich that the restaurant highlighted as a signature item: the Mongolian Cheesesteak. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and it’s both delicious and cheap ($6).

This is what Malcolm Gladwell would call the “sticky factor” in his book The Tipping Point. The Mongolian Cheesesteak is the unique menu item (fusing two foods widely loved by Americans) that gets people remembering and raving about this place to their friends. Looking at HRD’s Yelp reviews, you’ll see enthusiastic mentions of that sandwich in almost every other review for the past year. Word-of-mouth recommendations both in the real world and cyberspace culminated into a social epidemic that dramatically altered the respectability and perception of this diner.

Along with the cheesesteak, HRD made a few more interesting additions to the menu: a Sloppy JoJo (Korean pork with a hamburger bun), a Korean BBQ pork burrito and other fusion offerings. But it was really the Mongolian Cheesesteak that drove momentum for HRD before it tipped.” — Brian X. Chen, Under The Wire on Tumblr


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