I love going out to eat at places where they really know what they are doing. It is surprising to me, however, how infrequent that is. It’s not like the recipe for this kind of success is like a Tolstoy novel. It is–or at least should be– short and simple.
I recently wrote about how precious Portland restaurants are becoming.
In that post I suggest what I think are the necessary components of a good restaurant.
Good approachable food, friendly service
When I have a good time dining out, it is usually about those two things. That, and the company of my darling wife.
I love places who understand their customer. They are not trying to be something they are not, but rather being just what their customer wants.
They understand what works for them and what doesn’t. And they don’t try to do what doesn’t work for them. They stay within their core competencies.
Don’t have a full time baker on staff? Fine, buy your bread. Don’t have someone on hand who knows how to make fresh pasta? Great, buy it from someone who does. Don’t have the labor dollars or the equipment to make fresh ice cream and sorbet? No worries, buy it from the experts.
You will likely find that the cost of doing it that way is less than you think. And you can count on the consistency.
We don’t do that
I have worked at places that, in an effort to woo customers, did things that were not in our core competencies. Even when our gut said, “Don’t do it,” we went ahead and did it anyway. Boy can that stuff backfire on you.
Things didn’t go as smoothly as usual because you stepped out of your comfort zone. And now that customer that you just went out of your way for is really mad.
Stay with what works
You know what works. You know your customer. You should also know to listen to that little voice in your head that warns you when you drift from your mission.
The Greek credo
“Know thyself, nothing in excess.” That applies to your restaurant. That should be your daily mantra.
Take care of your customers. Don’t change just because your competition is. And don’t forget to keep the service friendly.