#TBT: Food IS Fun, Not Food

Happy #TBT. To celebrate, we’re sharing an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: Food IS Fun, Not Food.

Let me rephrase.

In an era of plenty (and despite the sour economy [circa 2010], compared to almost any time or place in the history of humankind, our cup truly runneth over), food isn’t about eating. It’s about fun.

And if you’re in the live entertainment business, it’s important to recognize that in the last generation or so, the business of food and the business of fun have pretty much merged. Rarely do people eat simply to feed themselves, even at home.

Which is why events like the one I describe below have such robust demand these days. Here’s what you get for your ticket of admission:

• You learn a little bit about how to make a bundt cake from a well-known baker, but not so much that you have to worry about remembering anything.

• You get to sample the results and have a glass of wine at the same time.

• You get to take home some goodies.

For those of you in the sit-in-a-chair-and-watch-the-stage-quietly-for-two-hours business, this poses a bit of a challenge. Events like this are absolutely, positively competing for mind share and walletshare (not really a word, but go with me) with you. And while watching a staged production certainly has charms that a baking and tasting session doesn’t, you can’t ignore that participation and the sensory experience of tasting bring a different dimension to the experience of going out to a show.

But fear not! You can “break the frame” of a traditional event in so many ways. I suggested several here. But yours will be much better than mine.

I suggest you go to one of these participatory food events. They feel like a performance, not a didactic class, but they have the added dimensions of the audience feeling like they’re part of the action, and then, of course, there’s cake and wine.

Then come back and start thinking about how you can add dimensions to what you do, if you happen to be in a more traditional venue. It could be a breakthrough for your venue, your company or your career if you can figure it out.

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