Sunday, November 13, 2005

Pick a Position, Any Position. But Please, Just Pick One!

Following the movie last night, Victoria, Lou, Bryant and I went over to Timpano Italian Chophouse, in Old Hyde Park Village. This bar/restaurant/raw bar/club has incredibly good food and often has exceptionally good live music...and two large flat screen TVs hanging from the ceiling, visible from anywhere in the place.

What's so puzzling about this place is they appear to be trying to have something for everyone - and it doesn't really work very well. It reminds me of Hairy Buffalo Parties we used to have when I was (very) young. The concept is everyone brings whatever liquor they have and you mix it all together with some punch and whatever to have some Hairy Buffalo Punch. I stopped participating when I realized that the color of the punch going down was freakishly similar to the color coming back up - which was usually the end of the party.

Victoria and I had eaten at this place one other time, sitting in the "dining room," where we could hear a Sinatra-esque piano player and singer perform, watch a football game, look out the glass wall and see people eating at the outdoor cafe, watch the 20-something Goth kids come in for a drink next to Sinatra-lite, watch people eat at the raw bar, watch an older couple out on a date or three
Sex in the City impresarios eating the smallest deserts ever seen outside of a doll house.

What struck me as odd both times is this place has some really awesome potential - but it's trying too hard to be all things to all people, and I don't think that's working out too well. Of all the places in Tampa that have large screen TVs - why at a Sinatra bar? Why have live jazz music AND a game, all inside a
chop house with a raw bar? OK, the chop house and raw bar can be together, and even combined with live music/jazz/big band motif - but what the hell is with the large screen TVs? Isn't Whiskey Park about 2 blocks away?

This reminds me of the final act of insanity at
Harbour Island Athletic Club, before I quit to join a real gym, when Harbour Island installed three similarly garish flat screen TVs in the weight room. Here's an idea, I don't want to be bench pressing 275 lbs in the same room that people are transfixed by Oprah...

Pick a value proposition and stick with it.
Pick a position and stick with it.

The best way to win and keep customers is to identify a segment of the market that has unique needs, target them with an attractive value proposition and then implement like it's no one's business, making sure everything you do is consistent with and supports that value proposition.

Big screen TVs are
not unique or a compelling differentiator in Tampa.

However, I would love to meet the person who's managed to sell every business in Tampa gigantic flat screen televisions...

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