The Case of the Serrated Chef’s knife.

We are lucky ducks – our friends gave us their beach house (right on the beach) for a couple of weeks this month.

The kitchen of this dream house- with its fantastic 6 burner viking range – has a random beachhouse assortment of crummy implements to cook with. Among these was an an assortment of cheap knifes, and no good ones. (I do know what I’m getting them for xmas). I cook. So, I pull out I knife from the block on the counter. Its shaped like an 8 inch chef’s knife, but has a serrated blade. I declare it completely useless, and again after I actually try to chop an onion with the thing.

My husband, who does not cook (but does run the grill) says “it has to have a purpose – they wouldn’t have made it otherwise.” But, you, my savvy business friend, have already guessed the problem here I’m sure. Some manufacturer of goods headed for a discount chain said – I know how to stamp metal, I can put a plastic handle on it. I’ve looked at a knife catalog. I see chef knives and serrated knives. I know its harder to make a sharp blade than a serrated one, so I’ll put a serrated edge on it.

The manufacturer didn’t seem to get that chef’s knives are for chopping and serrated are for slicing soft things. And that if you try to do both neither works. The manufacturer surely didn’t ever cook or even bother to ask his wife or maid or chef or whatever.

The analogy here should be pretty clear. If you do not truly understand the purpose and value of your business or product you are very likely creating the equivalent of that serrated chef’s knife. Beware.



  1. “it has to have a purpose – they wouldn’t have made it otherwise.” … indeed, it does serve a good purpose. It’s a great sandwich knife. Unlike serrated bread, carving, or slicing knives, the chef’s knife has a wide blade, which holds a thick sandwich together much better while cutting. Great for subs and clubs!

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