Let’s face it. Dining out is entertainment. Enjoying a nice meal with friends or family is a great way to spend the evening. While the company you keep is critical, the environment and service will either make or break the experience.
I love meeting service professionals who simply do their job well. You can spot them anywhere. It’s that one degree of difference that creates great versus good meals. Recently I met Geoff and you need to meet him too.
He takes care of customers at a lovely locally-owned restaurant in Nashville called the Eastland Café. From the moment we sat down, the service experience began. But what made our meal different that typically dining experiences? It can be boiled down to three unique service behaviors:
Our meal was “his” meal
One of the things that caught my attention immediately was the way Geoff initiated our meal. Like most waiters, he made recommendations on the menu. The difference though was in how he did it. He shared “his” favorites and describe what customers love about some of “his” specific dishes (for example, the green chile mac’n cheese). Our enjoyment began by selected the best options on the menu…”his” menu. He took full ownership of our dining experience. Could the same be said of your employees? Regardless of the service or products you provide, does every member of our team sell them as if they were their own?
He never forgot about us
The group I was with is a special group of friends. We don’t see each often so these meals together are not quick. Geoff picked up on this dynamic very quickly. He knew we would occupy our table for a while and ensured he was available at all times but let us enjoy our time together. He stopped by at just the right time our glasses need to be refilled (numerous times) and ensured each dinner entrée was served just to our liking. Now many restaurants follow up with customers, but the way in which Geoff did this was unique. It was if we were on his radar. While he took care of his other customers, we were always in the corner of his eye. That attentiveness enhanced our conversation and laughter. He was helping to create our environment. What about your customers? Do they feel like they are the focus of your employees or simply someone who needs to be taken care of so they can get back to other tasks? This behavior may not be difficult in nature but it certainly must be intentional. And that difference is critical.
His job didn’t stop until we left the restaurant
Our party spent about two hours at the restaurant – not because it took forever for our food to be ready – but because this was our entertainment. And to Geoff’s credit, we were his priority until we left the restaurant. His job began when we entered the restaurant but did not end until our evening came to a close. That sense of thoroughness is crucial in the service industry. We felt important, taken care of, and encouraged to visit again (which we will). In your world, how far does your employee take his or her job with your customers? Do they take care of your customer on the surface or ensure they become a fan of your business?
So our dinner was lovely. The company was great, our food was delicious, and the service was remarkable. How do you know that? I’m telling you about it. And in any service industry ( which we all belong), isn’t the goal to get your customers talking positively about your business? Well done, Eastland Café. You can thank Geoff for this article. Who can you thank in your world? I hope many examples come to mind for you. If not, may be you need to visit Eastland Café for a little inspiration. By the way, you can’t go wrong with the green chile mac’n cheese.