Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Menus and Packages

It's been a few years since I've been to a butcher. I had a bad experience with the butcher near my house. I guess he had had a bad day because he yelled at me for asking that the 10 lbs of ground beef I was buying be put in separate bags instead of one big bag. Ever since I just went to the grocery store. But a couple of weeks ago I went shopping with my friend Keith and he introduced me to a butcher in Lasalle where they have menus!

What having "menus" means is that instead of looking at the loss leaders and buying only what's on sale, or instead of thinking "what will I make this week" and buying that, you go "I'll have a number 4" and they fill your freezer with various meats on the number 4 menu for a discounted price. It's good quality and I've been able to be creative with meals ever since. Instead of buying meat for recipes I know how to cook, I'm finding new recipes for meats that I didn't buy before because I didn't know what to do with them, like short ribs for example.

I found this so appealing because I wasn't thinking of the individual items I was buying. I wasn't buying steak and chicken and ground beef. I was buying a full freezer, and I didn't care as much if I was getting a deal on the individual items, or even if I knew what I would do with them. It's helped me be more cooking-creative.

I started thinking, what else could you menu-ize? Obviously fruits and vegetables would work. You'd get what you want and maybe have some stuff that was more experimental to cook with. But package pricing could work for other things too. I'm thinking services would do well. Instead of buying a land line, Internet, cell phones, data plans, etc, you buy the "get connected" service that packages all of that together. I think Primus already does that, though I can't stand their service.

Maybe this is a way to revive the music industry. Instead of selling CDs, or singles or even concert tickets, you sell a "fill your iPOD" service that gives you big hits, b-sides, a couple of concert tickets, a tour of a radio station and an autographed photo of an up-and-coming artist. Video stores could perhaps do something similar with DVDs.

I've seen Steam do packages of video games. That's always fun if you never want to see the outside world again in your life.

I'd love to see a "fill your bar" package aimed at new homeowners or college kids. It feels like a lot to spend $40 on a bottle of Grey Goose, but it might not feel like so much to spend $500 on a stocked liquor cabinet.

I'm thinking bookstores could even do a "have a classy library" package where they get bestsellers, classics, a few new releases, and a few obscure titles, and boom, you have a den. What a great gift for someone. You could even have it customizable with like, X number of books are free choice, with the rest being part of the menu.

Anyone else have ideas?


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