That’s all they really want. I mean, I guess to some restaurant employees that seems to be asking a lot. And perhaps it is. But, customers just want to go to a place where they are recognized. Where they are not invisible.
Use the name
It doesn’t matter who they are. Whether they are worth millions or worth pennies. When they go out they want to feel special. Valued.
Keep this in mind as customers come through that front door. If more restaurateurs approached their business like this, and trained their staff to follow suit, I wouldn’t feel the need to write this blog. Service would be so amazing that there would not need to be criticism of service. We could just focus on what we should be focusing on: Food.
I know I have mentioned before that my favorite restaurant in the world is Vij’s Indian restaurant in Vancouver, B.C. Vikram Vij can always be found out on the floor seeing that all of his customers are happy. I love to watch him work the room–“How are you doing?” “So nice to see you again…”
Wolfgang Puck does the same thing. He is worth almost a billion dollars, but can still be found on most nights walking through the dining room, chatting up customers.
Ever see the movie, “Last Holiday”, starring Queen Latifah? Gerard Depardieu is a chef at a famous restaurant and a lot of high rollers come in and want him to come over to their table and schmooze them. That’s all they really want. They don’t care whether or not the food is incredible, they just want attention.
As I have said before, practice table visits. Mr. Chef, come out from behind that door of your kitchen and get your butt out on to the floor. Chat up your customers.
Teach your employees to do the same. Use the customers names. Remember which server they like. What wine they like. Where they like to sit.
In marketing we call that CRM (Customer Relationship Management–don’t you just love acronyms?). You want them to come back again and again? Do you want them to spend a lot of money when they come in? Do you want them to bring others in with them? Do you want them to go out in to the world and talk up your restaurant, bringing in even more customers? Then manage your customers–it is a great starting point.