It’s easy for a wine shop or a restaurant to be average. Have average products for average people, give average service, and try to compete on price. It’s lazy, but plenty of businesses out there survive with this premise.
I also think it’s easy to be genuinely exceptional. To have fantastic wines for amazing customers, leading them to new discoveries. Selling through education. Upping the customer service standards. To be a destination where people learn things. Genuinely exceptional shops and restaurants can charge more because the customers come in expecting more. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but the formula is easy to understand and once the ball starts rolling magic can happen.
The trap is being stuck in between. To be a wine shop that has a few exceptional and edgy wines but is also trying to please the masses with a stack of Stella Rosa or Apothic Red. To be a restaurant with elevated cuisine, but also a burger on the menu only because everyone asks for a burger, but it’s really nothing special and they know it (“they” being both the owner of the restaurant and the customer after eating it).
Being average is easy and lazy. Being genuinely exceptional takes work but starts with the decision to be different.
The trap is trying to be both.