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Try Norma’s Chowder

Clam Chowder
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ron Diggity

The night before junior’s college registration, we decided to hit the beach in the evening and while there, get some dinner.

We’d been on the road all day and probably had a little white line fever, so a nice, relaxing sit-down dinner was just what the doctor ordered.

We wandered all over downtown Seaside OR trying to find just the right spot. A couple of places we decided to try on future visits.

Norma’s caught our eye with outstanding reviews and a series of wins in the local clam chowder contest.

In fact, they left the impression that you’d be nuts not to order the chowder.

I grew up in a rural-ish valley on the east coast, and my parents were into seafood so they took us crabbing and to the beach and we had seafood fairly often. I’ve had my fair share of good and not-so-good clam chowder. It’s not a dish you find as a featured menu item in Montana, so it stood out when Norma’s featured it.

When it arrived, it looked pretty good. While it wasn’t as hot as I’d like, the chowder was pretty good. Yet I was left a little disappointed because of the build up they’d given it as the to-die-for chowder.

I expected amazing.

Taste aside, what they had wisely done (knowing their market) was sell 3 cups of chowder, adding almost $10 to the ticket. I suspect that this was not unusual and raised their ticket average nicely. The chowder wasn’t a disappointment and I didn’t feel ripped off. I just expected amazing after their build up.

What are you doing to make that extra $ happen on each ticket at your business?


The rest of the meal was good but not wow. With all the review kudos on the outside wall (and not just for the chowder), I expected more than good enough to come back (it was). I expected that this would be the sort of place that would provoke me to drive 100 miles round trip during visits to see my son at college. It didn’t quite get there.

Don’t get me wrong, Norma’s was good. But it wasn’t wow, and that’s the expectation they set as you entered.

What expectation is your business setting? What is it delivering?