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Dim Sum & Service Innovation

Meaghan Kennedy / September 4th 2017

With its origin in Cantonese tea houses, dim sum typically consists of small dishes pushed around the dining room on carts. Customers select items from the cart and are immediately rewarded with scrumptious small dishes to be devoured and replenished the next time the cart passes. But what is the benefit of this service model? And would this model work outside of a Cantonese tea house?  A unique chef-casual, multi-cuisine, multi-chef concept in Atlanta, Georgia is testing it. At Gunshow, diners choose or turn away small dishes offered at their tables by the chefs themselves. One result of this setup is that chefs get immediate feedback on the popularity of their dishes. The aforementioned dim sum cart also makes a cameo appearance as the vehicle for the mixologist.  


So, what does this model teach us about what diners want? Are the Gunshow chefs playing with a gimmick, or are they using this service model to get immediate, and presumably occasionally difficult, feedback? Is it a way to learn about failing? Is it a way to test ideas? Really, we believe it is a path to innovation, but is that the point?

The Bottom Line:

1. Dim Sum offers an age old service model that could be used as the path to innovation.

2. This model is the embodiment of the “fail fast” mentality.

3. Does an accepted service model in one cultural context translate into another?

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