Isn’t it strange how certain places – whether a restaurant, a caf?, or a fast food joint, just make you feel comfortable? It’s magic. The element that wafts through a space and grabs you after a visit or two is the mystery every restaurant owner should strive for. I don’t necessarily think it is just the employees, the attitude and the hospitality. It certainly isn’t the product, alone. It is a combination of all things coming together at the perfect moment that shouts, WELCOME.
In year’s past, I always had a favorite restaurant, bar or tavern which, made me feel as though I belonged, or was even part of that place’s family. I would always feel more comfortable in those than in others on my list.
In all of the restaurants and cafes I owned I always focused on and trained the staff in making customers feel welcome. It was the second teaching at the
The exception to the hospitality rule is of course if the customer is a pain. I purposely made those customers feel uncomfortable with hope they would change favorite places and annoy my competitors.
Of late, Kranston and I travel frequently to different parts of the country for work related reasons. And, as we are seldom in the same city at the same time as different professions and agendas keep us gong in different direction, our relationship depends heavily on the cell phone and cyberspace.
Because of our west coast base, and my work in New York, I often fill in as an alarm clock for my wife, making that 5:00 am call, PST, as a substitute for NPR blaring out of the radio alarm. One of the benefits of West Coast living is that you can get three extra hours in your work day if you rise early enough.
Just last week I made the morning call since Kranston had an early morning flight to
In an attempt to complete my wake-up call assignment I called my neighborhood caf? where I ritualistically stop each morning. Kranston is usually right behind me. So I took a shot to find out if she had stopped in for her morning Latte.
“Hello”, I said when the barista answered the phone. “This is Venti Black Iced Tea, no sugar, no water, so shaking.”
“John, this is Jennifer. How are you?”
“I am fine but I have a problem. I am looking for tall Soy Chai Latte, one and half pumps, no water. Has Karen been in yet?”, I asked explaining my problem.
“No, but I will tell her to call you when she comes in.” Jennifer said.
“Thank you, Jen.”
After an hour and no call I did get concerned and called my neighborhood caf? back.
“Hello, this Venti…”
Before I could finish my sentence Jennifer interrupted.
“John, Karen’s phone is dead. She is on her way to the airport. She’ll call you from
“Jennifer, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I owe you one.”
“John, have a great day. See you when you get home.”
The neighborhood caf? was Starbucks. They are the only chain I know of that has managed to inject the magic into their formula. We should all take a lesson from the way they do business. They are working on staying little as they globally grow and they are accomplishing their goal.