Cobb-sanity Explained

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 14 2012 1:57 PM

Cobb-sanity Explained

I know this isn't of interest to people outside the DC/NYC media hotspots, but I've been complaining for a while now about Chopt's habit of wildly overusing the word "cobb" in their salad-naming decisions and when I got the chance to sit down with the company's co-founder Tony Shure yesterday I asked him about this (also about other more serious things, but we'll leave that for another time) and got an explanation.

The basic issue is that while the company obviously competes with rival salad vendors, historically at least their real competition has been on-consumption. People simply don't want to pay nine or ten bucks for an entree salad as their meal. Or at least they think they don't want to. Chopt's job is to produce salads that people who order them come away happy with. And that's why they have their menu of suggested salads and their seasonal options. Folks are free to select their own combinations, but Chopt is staffed by salad experts. Random people "don't know salad as well as I do," Shure told me, so they want to make sure tasty new combinations are on offer.

Advertisement

But how do you get people to try them? Give 'em a familiar name. Hence there's a Mexican Caesar and in the past there's been a Sardinian Caesar. But at one point early on in the restaurant's life-cycle "one in five customers was ordering the cobb salad," a salad whose potent combination of meat, cheese, and eggs makes it the salad of choice for the salad-skeptical. So calling something the X Cobb becomes a go-to way to market different unfamiliar combinations.

Hence the current cobb-sanity. My take is that while this all makes perfect sense, the potency of the "cobb" name is likely diluted by run-amok cobb inflation. We also discussed more significant matters like public health, childhood nutrition, the Affordable Care Act, and the climate for urban entrepreneurship so more on some of that later but I had to get the cobb thing off my chest.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The Feds Have Declared War on Encryption—and the New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You

It spreads slowly.

These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Activists Are Trying to Save an Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?