I still remember my first visit to LaCocina de Tita Moning when my wife took me there around five years ago.
It was such an experience.
A few days before our planned dinner, Pauline asked me what I wanted to order, which I found a little weird.
Uhm…so can’t we just order from the menu when we’re there, just like every other restaurant?
Apparently not. This restaurant does not accept walk-ins. You have to call them a full 24 hours before your planned meal to preorder your food. Oh, and there’s not much to choose from. There are only 12 set menus, so you just choose once. That’s it.
These items alone made them different from 99.9 percent of the food places I knew, and even before I set foot in their premises, it was already making quite the impression on me.
Finally, we got to the place. It was near Malacanang.
The place itself did not look anything like a restaurant. It was an ancestral home and I felt like I was in another era. With good service, too. From the moment we entered the gate, someone was serving us, helping us park our car, and leading us to an al fresco foyer, where we had tea and some appetizer.
The server then asked us if we were ready to eat, or if we wanted to explore the house first.
Explore the house?! Pancake House has never asked me if I wanted to explore their house before. This was new. And therefore this was exciting.
Apparently, the house was also a museum. We proceeded to explore several rooms ogling different vintage furniture and radio equipment.
Finally, it was time to eat and we were brought to a grand dining area, where the other guests were.
We partook of our set meals in grand style. When we were having dessert, we were handed a guest book by the waiter who asked us to put a dedication. Then, our waiter called the cook and some of the other members of their staff, who then posed with us while our waiter took our picture. Not the sort of thing you see in Jollibee. The waiter then explained that this picture would be uploaded to their website the day after. (you’ve got some restos doing this now, but 5 years ago, this was unprecedented)
It was an amazing and a totally unique experience that someone designed. An experience someone took great care to execute and deliver.
To rise above the noise of today’s information-saturated world, you have to be memorable, magical, unique.
How can your startup be like Tita Moning?
Postscript: Oh, and food was just superb! Best bread pudding ever!
Postscript 2: No, they aren’t paying me to do this. Maybe someone can send pudding…