The Best Issue

April 10, 2003

I'm no entrepreneur, but if I were one, I wouldn't open up a business-let alone a restaurant-that has "best" in the name**. What's with that? I can think of a handful of places that declare they're "The Best." At least three "The Best Steakhouse" come to mind. Two of them are in St. Paul on the SAME STREET (University), a measly ten blocks from each other. There's a Vietnamese place in Minneapolis that recently ditched its "ethnic" name for the all-encompassing "The Best One." Obviously not going for clarity. And then there's that fine eating establishment in Roseville that a "friend" recently made me go to called "The Royal Orchid-The Best Thai Food."

It just makes no business sense. If you open up a restaurant, you WANT people to go to it, right? The last time I checked, revenue is a good thing (Yes, I really should consider that MBA). The thing is, a restaurant that declares itself to be "The Best" is unlikely to bring in the hoards. You might draw the nincompoop here and there who doesn't know any better (Or those of us who have "charity" restaurants because we feel so bad for them). But for most folks, when they see "The Best" attached to the name of a restaurant, they read: This food stinks-Run for your lives! At the very most, the food is probably just pretty okay. Really, who are you trying to fool?

And, the pronouncement that you're "The Best" is pretty darn arrogant. I understand confidence, but plastering "The Best" all over the place crosses over into conceit. I mean, who's saying you're "The Best" here? You? Your Mom? Child? Significant Other? Pet rabbit? Some accredited institution? Got certification to prove this "best" status? I didn't think so.

If you're going to have the audacity to declare yourself "The Best" anything, at least have the decency to choose better adjectives. "The Most Excellent Steakhouse" kind of has a ring to it. Or "Fantastic Food Place." Or "Tremendous Thai Food." Even "Sassiest Steakhouse" could work. All the adjectives in the English language at your fingertips (It's called a thesaurus), and "best" is all that you can come up with? *Sigh.* For all its originality, you might as well call it "Food."

**The exception to this rule is the Best Yet brand version of Dr. Pepper-called Dr. Best. HA!! This name rocks.

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