He is credited with introducing a theory on how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. According to Rogers, technologies are embraced by groups of people in general categories. The first group to pick up a new technology he called innovators, followed by early adopters, then the early majority, next late majority and finally laggards. Everett doesn’t mention how long this process will take, only that the percentage of innovators and early adaptors are small by comparison to the more than 85 percent of people who adopt a new idea or technology later rather than sooner.
In the case of menu engineering, Michael L. Kasavana, Ph.D. and Donald J. Smith at the Michigan State University School of Hospitality Business are credited with developing, back in 1982, the menu engineering method on which I base my work. Twenty-nine years later a second-generation restaurateur named Greg Evans, who owns Alfie’s restaurant in Ormond Beach, Florida, called me and said he was ready to work on his menu.
Greg isn’t an innovator, nor would you call him an early adopter. He’s most likely part of the early majority. I came across menu engineering as an interdisciplinary field of study devoted to the strategic construction of menus in the mid-1990s. Over the past nearly 15 years I have introduced the process to restaurant operators across the country.
Alfie’s is a family restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a strong local following in the Ormond Beach area. In fact, it’s almost cult-like in dedicated fans. This is primarily due to Greg and his staff doting over his customers, along with the quality and consistency of his offering.