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What is Pathos?

Pathos is a term that means that in order to sell, lead, or influence others you need to appeal to people’s emotions.

This is such a known fact these days. It’s the key to success for many businesses and we see it now more than ever with the use of social media. This is what I have seen, and why I know Pathos is so important.

Pathos is important in any industry, but I think its essential in the food industry. I’m sure everyone would agree with that. Food is art, it’s expression, and evokes emotions. Whenever I meet a client (many of you have experienced this from me), I ask them to write a vision. I ask them to sit down, relax, and just write whatever comes to mind when they think of their business. This is how I as a consultant can find the “soul” of the business, it’s the why- it’s all about how you want people to feel and doing your best to make them feel that way.

I love feeling at home and spending time with my family. My most treasured memories are when I was growing up and would spend time at home watching movies with my cousins, eating and playing card games outside, and talking about life as we spent entire days and stayed up until late at night talking. My favorite place in the world is home. I became a chef because food unites people.

Whenever I observed someone go into an environment where they felt out of place, they somehow felt welcome or at least better when the food came out. They suddenly had something in common to talk about, and that lead to other stories and substantial conversations. Food aids connection, and I think that connecting with other people is how we appreciate our chance to be humans.

Because of this, I like to create concepts where people feel at home. I do my best to make it feel like home. My customers know my name, we have conversations, they enjoy their food, and I see them the following week. I call that the third place.

The Third Place is a concept coined by Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The third place is that place that you want to go to, and you feel welcome and a sense of belonging. It’s not your home, it’s not your work, it’s that other place where people know your name. Customers don’t always go to their third place solely for the food. In fact, they rarely go for just the food. They go because they like the service and they feel at place in the atmosphere, they find like-minded people there and they always feel excited to go.

Being a third place is a very delicate situation. Customers develop a need, a deep connection, and loyalty to the place. If you betray that connection, you will lose that customer forever. They learn to trust you and develop a certain level of reliance or comfort with the business. Pathos (appealing to the emotions of your customers) is how you make an emotional connection and develop regulars- and regulars are essential to the success of your business. In order to stay successful, you need to hire wisely and develop the proper organizational behavior that will keep that connection strong.

Make sure that when you sell something you don’t just sell the material item; you sell the idea of how that will improve the life of the person you’re selling to.

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