Hype vs Reality

So today we tried a BBQ place. This place always has a line out the door. There is another location across town and it is always busy. People rave about this BBQ. It’s not quite to the level of “Life won’t be complete without it” level, but it’s close.

We happened to be by the one near us, and saw there was not much of a line. So we decided to try it out. I was kind of excited. Lots of people have told me how great this place is. But with three kids we can’t stand outside in the heat for 30 minutes.

You should know, I have a very high level of expectation when it comes to BBQ sauce. The best BBQ my wife and I have ever had is Cousin’s BBQ in Fort Worth, TX. We like Texas BBQ. I mean, we like Tennessee BBQ and Kansas City BBQ and Memphis BBQ. I like all BBQ except sweet BBQ. Sweet BBQ is some sort of joke two guys thought up down in Texas. They were suffering from a little heat stroke after filling the smoker out back with hickory sticks, and you can’t blame them for it. I’m sure they were delirious. Sadly, their joke lives on and unsuspecting people mistakenly order a BBQ sandwich and end up with something sweet, but not in a good way.

So people had been going on an on about this place, and I want it to be good. the hype was pretty high. Our expectations were pretty high.

The reality? It was an OK place. Good texas style BBQ. I’m not going to stand in line to eat there, but it was good. I’ve had much worse. But there is a place that I’d put just as good closer to my house.

That’s the problem with hype versus reality. Had I just stumbled across this BBQ place I would have been very pleased. And would probably think better of it. But because of the amount of hype I experienced before we ate there, the actual experience couldn’t compete.

Now, I’m a peculiar case when it comes to BBQ, but anything you promote can have the same tipping point. Too much hype will overshadow reality. The only real way to compete is to make sure you are telling the truth. Don’t oversell. Talk about what is real, but resist the urge to hype it.

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