Nothing makes me happier than going out to eat, and leaving with this feeling. Whether you go in with high expectations, low expectations, or no expectations, and then you leave with a somewhat euphoric feeling. That is what eating out is supposed to be all about.
Why not your place?
Wouldn’t you want people thinking this about your place? Of course you would. But, how do you go about it? Ahh, there’s the rub.
Many people, chefs especially, think it has to be about the food. I am here to tell you (as I have for the last year and a half) that there is so much more to it.
Usually, when I leave with that feeling, it has very little to do with the food. Don’t get me wrong, the food is important. It is why people come in to the restaurant in the first place. BUT, when I leave feeling euphoric it is usually due to the fact that the staff made me feel special. That is what people want after all.
Sure, I may feel sated, but it was that extra special attention that I was given that made me feel that way. Maybe it was the way the phone was answered when I called. Maybe it was how I was greeted when I walked in to the joint. Maybe it was my awesome server who made me and my wife feel like a million bucks just for being in the place. Maybe it was that nice line cook who gave me a big smile when I happened to walk by the kitchen on my way to the bathroom.
Anyone of these things can make the difference. Let’s face it: People want to feel special when they go out. That is one of the big reasons they go out in the first place. It doesn’t matter if it is a fine dining restaurant, a café, or even just a food cart; they want to feel like people care about them.
So, the question remains, how do we get people to feel that way? It starts with you. Yes, I know, I have never said that before. It is true, though. If you work at it, your staff will follow. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to hire the right people. People who genuinely like people. People who want to show people a good time.
And never take them for granted
Remember, in this business it is all about getting them to come back. That is how restaurants survive. So, hire the right people, and then see it through all the way out the door. Your banker will be happy, and so will you.