I went out with a co-worker of mine a couple of nights ago, and we were greeted immediately by a very friendly bartender. Even though we had only been in there once before, she still remembered us, and asked all about us, and our work–which she also remembered.
Sure, it’s true that it will add to her tip, but let’s face it, I am not that memorable.
What a difference
What a difference it can make to a customer’s experience.
Where everybody knows your name
Yes, that is taken from a pretty old TV show, but it is still very important. It makes customers feel welcome. It makes them feel appreciated. It makes them feel special.
Customers who feel welcome, appreciated, and special, come back to the place. And remember, that is one of the important ways to go about running a profitable restaurant.
It is a known fact in business–not just in the hospitality industry–that a returning customer is much less expensive than trying to get new customers in the place. Remembering them, using their name if possible, are both very powerful ways to get them to return.
I have documented my experiences working for Wolfgang Puck, and I certainly disagreed with many of his business practices, however I must admit that when it came to this strategy, he was a master.
He would walk through the dining room during service, and with his Austrian accent, would say things like, “Hi, how are you?”, or “Let’s get you something to eat..”
At the time it was so hollow I felt like throwing up, but many years later I do see the value of it. Customers like it. And when customers like something they come back for more.
I have also mentioned on more than one occasion that my favorite restaurant in the world is an Indian restaurant in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
Vikram Vij, the owner and chef of this restaurant knows it, too. I have been there a half-dozen times or so, and you can always count on seeing him walking around the dining room saying hi to everyone.
“So nice to see you again!” “How are you?” Wow. Like he remembers me. I know he doesn’t, but my kids don’t know that, and he just made me look really good in front of them. And believe me, that is harder and harder to do these days. So thank you–We will be back.
Not hard to do
If an employee cares, or is paying attention at all, this is a no-brainer. How hard is it to be nice to people? Or to at least pretend to remember them, even though you don’t?
So, as I have said before, set the example. If you are doing it, your staff will most likely follow suit. And you will have customers–happy customers–coming back again and again for more. You can take that to the bank.