Your chef has just created a nightly special that has received rave reviews from Michael Bauer, Jeremy Iggers, and Frank Rich. Needless to say it is one of his award winning dishes. It was what attracted you, the owner of Chez Whatever to him in the first place.
And, after selling out of the dish on the particular night it was listed as the “Special” you await the customers’ response. Instead of kudos on the dish, you are pleased to hear that people have enjoyed the new napkin fold. They really liked the flowers in the ladies room, and the new wine glasses are a classy addition. Everything seems to have pleased the customer more than the creation that was supposed to please the customer in the first place.
It’s typically always the way; the peripheral accoutrements are what the public looks for. They expect what they came for to be perfect and everything else a pleasing bonus.
And, it’s those small amenities- frequently the service based bonuses the customers will convey to their friends, family and neighbors.
On a recent business trip, my wife Kranston was scheduled to spend two nights in
It’s not easy living in Californian. You disassociate yourself with the problems and obstacles snowstorms provide. You forget your boots. You don’t even think of gloves, or a winter coat. “It’s only a short walk to the car and convention hall”, was her reply when I asked if she had brought any of these survival tools with her. I expected the ex-New Yorker I married to always remember why we headed west, unfortunately she blocked those moments out of her mind.
Needless to say, she was a lost soul in the snow. But, upon entering the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in
The next morning the entire Marriott team assisted my wife with her snowbound sojourn to the convention center. They started her car; they shoveled it out of the parking space – which was playing host to 18 plus inches of snow and drift. They scraped her windshield and even gave her the scraper to keep. The scraper for snowbound travelers is equivalent to the umbrella’s that stand next to the entryway of Lund’s grocery stores in Minnesota- complimentary for shoppers to take advantage of during heavy spring, summer and autumn rains.
The second night in Harrisburg Kranston moved to a hotel adjacent to the convention center because she knew she would be snowed in at the Marriott. She was attending a food show and needed to cart, haul, and transport product from her room to her booth, and the Ramada Inn was connected to the exhibition hall.
Unfortunately, the Ramada staff wasn’t clad in winter parkas. They didn’t assist with parking, they certainly didn’t help with the shoveling and they offered no scrapers. They must have known the Marriott cornered the scraper market. They offered little assistance to those ice bound visitors from the sunny coast.
Now both places served their purpose and Kranston managed to endure the elements and escape
Marriott General Manager Leah Raja said the scrapers are basically standard procedure in winter. “It’s something we do here to make the guests feel more comfortable.” Raja went on to point out that on the Wednesday evening everyone at the hotel was snowed in so the staff opened the restaurant, which is usually only opened for breakfast and hosted a Pasta Buffet for all those stranded.
“Nobody could get out so we decided to open the restaurant and cook pasta. It was great. It’s hospitality. We do what we need to do”, she said.
The perfect example to bring to the next pre shift meeting: It’s the small extras that separate the special from the norm. It’s the standards that professionals develop setting them apart from those restaurants, hotels, and cafes that develop little standards at all.
It comes down to customer service and how we perceive our customers, ourselves and our staff.
It’s important to make sure the expected is perfect, but often it’s the unexpected we offer that distinguishes us from those who are merely checking the guest in within checking out their needs.
It’s all about hospitality.