Alfie’s Restaurant

Everett Rogers

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.

The Brand is in the Details

In going through Greg’s web site, I noticed this stuffed alligator in many of the photos. Some of them looked like travel photos of people’s vacations, a few of which even appeared to be in foreign countries. When I inquired about the stuffed animal in the photos, Greg became excited and explained that it had become an obsession for some of his customers to take his mascot on trips and then send him photos of the stuffed toy. What was surprising was there wasn’t any reference on Greg’s menu about the stuffed mascot. As a natural extension of the trend already happening in the restaurant, I asked if we were to come up with an illustration of a caricature, would that be something Greg might be comfortable with. He said he would, and so we developed a number of pencil sketches and looked at various illustration styles until we settled on highly rendered style of Alfie the Alligator Chef. Once the pencil sketches were approved, we added color, and as the various menus were worked on, we positioned Alfie in various poses and added a plate of eggs and a spatula to the illustration.


October 7, 2010


Business, Menu Design, Menu Design Engineering, Photography