It may seem like the worst day of your life. After struggling to raise capitol, after stressing over a solid business plan, and after working unbearable hours to finish the construction of your new restaurant- so you open only three weeks past the announced deadline – the local food critic appears on opening night. And he wants a table.
Far fetched? Think again. After struggling for months to open a restaurant in
Meusault was gentle with the review and to make sue it would go the way I needed it to I invited him for lunch the next day – a Saturday- to conduct an interview. A bottle of wine later the review was positive when it appeared the following week in the food section.
I was lucky. But, I also knew how to schmooze the critic to make sure he liked me more than the food.
That has nothing to do with the food as much as it has to do with the service. That is really hat Martin was reviewing.
After a lengthy cross country trip which brought my wife, Kranston, to five states in five days she eagerly reported that the highlight of her stressful trip was the service that everyone displayed from airlines to cab drivers to restaurants to hotels. Ironically, chain hotels that only month ago were friendly but not overly service oriented were working on a four star-system.
During one late night call her room phone rang and the desk clerk asked if everything in the room was satisfactory. It was a Marriott Courtyard.
Ironically, stressful times have some great attributes if they raise the bar of service in establishments that were not trade marking the concept.
And, if your service is exceptional, it covers a lot of sins whether they are mediocre food, or ambiance or menu. When it comes to the critics of the world, they are friends of good service. And with the latest trend of Yelp, and Angie’s, and Facebook, everyone is a critic. Yet, if our service is above the standardized bar, those writers who ding and dip and destroy on a whim, will have a hard time writing the message of discontent if your staff makes them feel wanted. And today, everyone is a critic.
So whatever night it is, whether the first night you open, or the last night of your run, make sure your service is exemplary and it will cover the misstakes that nobody ever sees.
And that’s a great way to deal with a critic, and your customers.