What can we learn from Chefs?
"Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave..." quotes Mario Batali as describing the business in its rawest form as buying food, fixing it up, and making a profit. I guess the rest must be marketing.
Anthony Bourdain in "Kitchen Confidential" makes a strong case why creativity and innovation are NOT desirable when hiring line cooks or sous chefs. Customers want the same thing they had last time, they are not looking for a creative variation.
It seems that a successful restaurant is about understanding expectations of a target market and then consistently meeting (or exceeding) them. Sounds familiar.