Regional preferences, experiences and habits guide our approach to many products like food and drink. Think of Soda in the Northeastern US, Pop in the Midwestern US and Coke in the Southern US. All are names for the same product.
Depending on where you live in the Northeast US you enjoy a Hoagie, Hero, Sub or Grinder. Would you be getting the same or different food when you order? Often, you would get the same food with a different name.
Philadelphia Cheesesteak in Philadelphia – Makes Sense
I have eaten Philly cheesesteaks since I was a kid growing up in Philadelphia. It used to be difficult to buy a cheesesteak anywhere outside a 50-75 mile radius of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Cheesesteak in Louisiana – Huh?
In 1990, I was traveling near New Orleans, Louisiana to attend the Jazz and Heritage Festival. I found a restaurant featuring Philadelphia Cheesesteaks in a little town named Slidell.
I challenged the owner on the authenticity of his product. He basically told me “you can take the boy out of Philly, but not the Philly out of the boy.” He had the meat, cheese and bread flown in each week to be authentic.
The owner was sharing his hometown regional favorites in an area known for regional cooking.
One Time Event?
I thought this was a one-off event until Philly cheesesteaks were everywhere. Regional cuisines became the rage in the 1990s. Blackened catfish and Philly cheesesteaks were on the West Coast, East Coast and everywhere in between. Many were not true to the original. However, the locals did not seem to mind since they did not really know the original.
Adroit business people will spot trends early on or identify products or services that can be the start of a trend. Acai and Pomegranate are two recent food trends that immediately come to mind.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?
- How do you identify possible new products or services you can offer?
- Are regional differences in products being blurred?
- Do you want your Philly cheesesteak with a bowl of gumbo?