Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Restaurant Service

From my email:

It’s The Relationship, Stupid

Posted: 13 Jun 2008 08:01 AM CDT


I don’t care how you slice it, when it comes down to fundamentals, business is all about relationships. Ignore this truth at your own peril. There’s a restaurant that I frequent called Positano’s. First time I went, my wife and I liked it a lot it. Good food, nice wine list, great desserts, good vibe, but only adequate service.

Second time, not liking it so much. They didn’t do a good job of handling the crowd but we forgave them. There had been a glowing newspaper story that day and everyone piled in that night. So, we tried it again. Service was slack, but everything else was good. Didn’t go back for a while.

New manager, David, appears on the scene. So, we decide to give it another try. David quickly learns the names of everyone at the table, what they like to drink, brings free apéritifs for the table. Food good, wine good, service good? Check.

We go back again. David recognizes us, calls us by name, visits the table, brings us limoncello. He does something a little special for us now each time we go. Guess what has become one of our favorite restaurants?

On the reverse side, there’s a business I will not identify by name. I have been going to this bar for about three years but have eased off lately. I have been such a loyal customer that they now often take me for granted. Sometimes I can’t get waited on. They ignore me and several other long-time customers, as well, because they think we won’t go anywhere else.

Business must manage their relationships with customers just as they do with friends and family. But you can’t get too comfortable and disregard your most loyal customers in favor of new business. Did I tell you that Positano’s has a nice bar and an excellent and attentive bar staff?

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