Hbr Elbulli Case

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elBulli

1. What factors made elBulli the best restaurant in the world? Which elements of the elBulli experience create value for customers? Generally when you think of the best restaurant in the world you would expect a great location in a big city, a modern building, an excellent customer service and regularly opening hours. All of them have nothing in common with elBulli. It is just different. It is really a challenge to place a reservation at this restaurant and it is even a bigger challenge to find the small inconsiderable building which is located in the near of an abandoned village in Spain. There is only space availability for about 50 diners and the restaurant usually is opened from April to September. So what made elBulli that special and why do they have about 1 to 2 million reservation requests each year? This restaurant offers a completely new and unseen way of serving food with creativity. They do not serve food but they serve emotions as they try giving their customers new experiences which are totally unexpected before. So elBulli has the objective to surprise the customer and not offering what they expect or actually want. There are many factors to be considered why this restaurant became such successful. One big reason is the head of elBulli since 1987 called Ferran Adrià. He changed the kind of usual gastronomy and created a completely new way for cooking. His target is not to copy the good things but to create unexpected and new recipes to inspire feelings within the diners. Another important reason is the gaining of knowledge concerning new technology and equipment. The creativity team of elBulli is always searching for new techniques and ways how to prepare food. For this purpose they even travel around the whole world. Furthermore they use this travels to gain knowledge of as so far unknown exotic food and to get inspired by new ideas. The factor differentiation has also a great impact on the success of the company. Eating at this restaurant is actually a unique experience. At first there is a guided tour along the terrace, through the kitchen and finally they stop at the main dining room. The meal contains 35 dishes and the waiters have the task to explain what it is and how to eat this piece of art on the plate. However the team of elBulli is far from paying attention to customer needs and satisfying them. In their opinion the only reason for doing that is to gain creativity and the results of their research are shown to the customers. Value is added as they give the diners the feeling of being the most important persons of that evening, while welcome them friendly and personally, caring for them the whole evening and giving them the feeling to be someone special as they are one of the rare people who are lucky to have this experience. Maybe they are also adding value by giving the diners this surprising feeling of unexpected taste. In general companies try getting to know what the customer wants and to satisfy this need. But elBulli makes the customer just curious and they want to be surprised by something totally different which they would never think of to imagine. Adrià thinks when he will ask the customers what they want, they will always say something already known for example a good steak but that want will never be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So this unique restaurant satisfies the curiosity of the customers without willingness to do that. Because as Ferran Adrià said: “Creativity comes first, and then the customer”.

2. What are the salient features of the creative process at elBulli? “Creativity is the ability to produce work that is both novel (i.e. original, unexpected) and appropriate (i.e. useful, adaptive concerning task constraints).” In order to figure out the salient features of the creative process at elBulli this definition of creativity will help to give some guidance.

Securing novelty in the recipe-creating process
As Sternberg defines creativity in his book it...
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