There’s a new (less than two years old) restaurant in the Twin Cities that has been getting a larger share of my dining dollars lately. Even better, this place never fails to impress the people I bring there. They keep getting my business and my referrals because they deliver a great experience every time.
Here’s how they do it:
1. They are consistent.
The food is always good. I’ve had their wild rice chicken soup a dozen times and it’s always the same. The servers are alway friendly, prompt and knowledgeable about the food. It’s clear the staff has been hired and trained well.
2. It’s always clean.
There are two things I hate in a restaurant. One is when they have dirty bathrooms. The old restaurant saying is, “dirty bathrooms means a dirty kitchen”. Two is restaurants that stay with you the rest of the day. When you leave, you leave with a greasy, odor on your clothes. Yuck!
This restaurant is always clean and never smelly.
3. Unique menu
Their food is easy to eat yet it’s different than other restaurants. Every dish is done with flair and quality so it’s unlike anywhere else. I especially like the cornbread, which is becoming famous around here.
4. Visible management
I walked into this restaurant two days ago for lunch and the chef greeted me at the door. Not only did he greet me, he started a conversation, like a real person! In this restaurant, you always get some member of the management team greeting you or stopping by your table to make sure everything is okay. I compare this to restaurants where the owners are never there and the managers hide in the kitchen. Not so good.
5. Reasonable prices
Even with fancy decor,a talented chef and high quality food, the prices are very reasonable. Since this restaurant is in a hotel in the suburbs, this make sense. But the service, food and ambiance are all well above their price point. So, I always feel I get a good value.
6. They remember people
Even though this place is as busy as any successful restaurant, the servers remember the regular customers. Not that they shout my name out when I walk in the door. But, almost every time I’m there, they make sure I know they remember me. This always impresses me.
You’d think these things would be standard for every restaurant. But they’re not. In fact, it’s rare to see them done consistently. If someone were to ask me what the secret is to running a successful restaurant, this list would be a big part of my answer.
This is a simple list. It’s not hard to do yet it’s not done well by most retail businesses. So, if you manage or own a retail business, (especially a restaurant) try using this list as your “customer service standards” for 2008. Then see how many more loyal customers you have this year as a result.