This Foodie Friday Fun comes to you via South Florida where I have spent much of this week. It wasn’t exactly a vacation but as with any trip, it did provide the opportunity to try some new restaurants. Turns out it provided some decent business lessons too.
Last night I went out to eat with my parents at one of their favorite local places. I asked them ahead of time why they liked it so much. As it turns out, they had good reason to be happy with the place but not for the reasons they cited. They thought the food was excellent. I realize I might be jaded (or a food snob), but to be honest, I could replicate any of what our table had and probably do a better job on some of the dishes (how can you serve burned garlic as food pro?). That said, I’d recommend the place without hesitation. Why?
We got there on the early side and so there was a prix fixe menu available. $20 for a starter, an entree, and dessert. My dad ordered two starters – pea soup and the salmon cake appetizer. He’s a light eater. After taking all of the orders, our server said, “Sir – if you order the soup and the salmon cakes ala carte, you’ll save $4 and get a second salmon cake.” I can’t recall another server ever placing the customer’s interest above the restaurant’s revenues like that, and it’s a great example of how any business ought to prioritize.
My folks said that they had been served by this guy before and he always had a little something to say about a dish, a wine, of some food pairing. My mom has some dietary challenges and he offered her several substitutions to make up for the dishes she couldn’t eat. When she suggested something else, he said “of course” without hesitation. This, dear readers, is customer care at its finest. This is not about “we can’t do that” but about “how can we help you enjoy your meal and your time with us?”
If you’re not thinking along these lines when dealing with your customers, you should be. This is an example of the deficiencies in one part of the business (above average, but not great, food) being compensated for by the superior service and creating a fantastic customer experience that is worth repeating. A lesson for us all, no?