I ran across a little shop on Polk Street in San Francisco one day, just walking by with a friend. There was not much traffic, but the people walking out appeared enlightened. And the name, Loving Cup, was a draw on its own. So, of course we had to find out what we were missing out on.
What an experience! It is set up like an old ice cream parlor; but instead offers many flavors of rice pudding. From tasting each of the rice pudding flavors . . . all-natural ingredients . . . compostable cups and spoons . . . savoring every bite of my own cup of vanilla rice pudding . . . to each employee’s beam of pride and willingness to answer any questions that you have. Plus, it tastes just like my grandmother used to make: just rice, milk, eggs and sugar. The entire customer experience really is filled with love, from name to cup.
Since rice pudding is only something that I’ve known to be a home cooked dessert, or found in Middle Eastern or Hispanic restaurants; I couldn’t help but wonder who was the genius that came up with this brilliant idea and what their inspiration was. Turns out, the owner got the idea from a rice pudding shop in SOHO, NYC: Rice to Riches.
I am sure you know what comes next: a trip to NYC to check out Rice to Riches. I mean if Loving Cup offers such a loving experience, imagine what the original shop in NYC must be like.
The shop on Spring Street was a circus of marketing hullabaloo, with signs such as: “Need some time alone? Try washing dishes,” meant to be funny but give off a less than loving vibe. The charge for one small rice pudding is $6.75—that’s twice as much as a small at Loving Cup. Rice to Riches gives you a reusable plastic to-go container and spoon, branded with the Rice To Riches logo. After tasting the rice pudding, it was clear that Rice to Riches had traded in their rice pudding for riches.
So many companies grow on the love of loyal customers who discover them; realize what makes them so special; then use their precious time with friends, family, and even online posts, to spread the word about fantastic experiences. And you, my dear Rice to Riches, with a desire to grow, and gain even more traction, are focused on lots of marketing hype, while forgetting about the unique, delicious rice pudding that your business was built on. My experience with you was flashy, expensive, and empty.
Thank you Loving Cup for putting love back in the rice pudding cup.