Known as a new south kitchen, Tupelo Honey Cafe is a great case study on how to maximize the design of a customer touchpoint, to build, or sustain, a distinct experience. As soon as you sit down to order you are presented with these amazing biscuits with jam (They are free!). In fact, these biscuits create a very distinct memory in my mind. Memory is a powerful heuristic. How we remember an experience informs future consumption-related decisions. In this case, I find it interesting that this memory seems to override much of what I have actually experienced in the restaurant.
This is what Daniel Kahneman called the remembering self. In Thinking Fast and Slow he described both experience and memory as two distinct selfs. The experiencing self answers: “Does it hurt now?” The remembering self answers: “How was it, on the whole?” It is the remembering self that governs how we process our memories. It is also how we inform our decisions moving forward. Even though they can be wrong, memories are powerful determinants for tastes and can often override certain aspects of an experience.
So, what we have, is an opening experience (warm and fresh free biscuits) that is designed specifically for the remembering self. The memory of the experience we create becomes more important than what we actually experienced.