Feeling like a child in a sweet shop with Heston Blumenthal

13th March

Here’s what I believe; the passion behind your business is something worth sharing. I believe this with my heart and soul. Sometimes, we work so hard that we forget about what inspired us to create our business. We get wrapped up in completing orders or looking for new customers. We also forget that our customers want to feel the magic; to get a sense of who we are. I’m not a die-hard fan of Heston Blumenthal but I’m blown away by this sensory animation he created to tease his fanatical customers! It’s all about feeling like a child in a sweet shop

There’s a 2 month waiting list for a table at The Fat Duck and Heston decided to use that time to generate excitement about what the experience would be like – to allow that ‘kid in the sweetshop’ sensation to start, the moment you’ve made your reservation.

“Over the years I found myself, describing to people, when talking about creativity, the moment that I’ve come up with a new dish, or just discovered something new; I felt like a kid in a sweet shop and that’s a pretty universal metaphor for excitement and it’s exactly the feeling that I want to pass on to the customer.”

Once a booking was made, customers were sent a link to a website which unveiled the world of the sweet shop. Heston commissioned an animation company to create his story. He started by developing a ‘smell’ which he called the scent of an old sweet shop. He used this to inspire his film makers. Heston’s food is definitely a theatrical experience so this had to be a multi-multi-multi-sensory experience!

heston Blumenthal kid in a sweetshop

“Sound can be such an incredible trigger for the memory and create such vivid personalised images… we use the annimation to lead you to the door of the sweet shop but when you’re inside you don’t see anything. We used sound to generate that excitement”

heston blumenthal sweet shop

John Hurt agreed to be the mysterious narrator which works brilliantly. His devilish voice gives the piece added drama. Heston was thrilled with the end result; it summed up the child-like joy he has for cooking – something that he feels should be linked to the experience of visiting his restaurant.

“When I first saw the animation, I felt like a big kid; I was grinning from cheek to cheek and I almost had a lump in my throat. It was quite magical and it exceeded all my expectations. So I just can’t wait for our customers to experience it and have that sheer wonderment and excitement that we had creating it – and once again becomming that kid in the sweet shop.”

the fat duck heston blumenthal

Your ‘magic’ might not be as theatrical as Heston’s but it’s there; you just need to connect with it. The expectation about what you do is as important as your product or service. How do you excite your customers and make your business memorable? I believe that it’s all about making a human connection which is the reason I got into blogging in the first place!


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