I was reading an article the other night by one of my writing mentors Steve Slaunwhite where he tells the story of when he was staying in a hotel and ordered peanut butter for breakfast. He
This reminded me of when I used to travel a lot. I developed the habit of often staying at the same hotels and eating at many of the same restaurants. Being away two hundred nights in a year you tend to be on auto pilot and when they did something special it really did get noticed and appreciated. One restaurant I used to visit in Perth called the “Greek” used to serve fabulous seafood and be famous for its black mussels. I used to go there a lot.
In the summer you would sit outside and enjoy the warm temperatures. In winter they have a roaring log fire. I remember arriving on a cold winter’s night after walking a kilometer or two and being offered an arm chair right in front of the fire. This was to give them time to prepare my table and to give me an opportunity to relax with a good glass of red. I was really comfortable and the owner could see this too, and offered to bring me dinner on a tray so I could continue to enjoy the warmth of the fire. Wow! This was great. It was like being at home and a big contrast to being stuck on another table to eat alone yet again. They hit the mark that night. I was definitely the envy of some of the other diners; so good and so appreciated.
The thing is they knew I travelled a lot and was a regular visitor. They went out of their way to welcome me and do something special to make me feel at home. I very much appreciated that and still today, whenever I go to Perth this restaurant is the first place I visit… they had won my loyalty forever.
The question is… what things do you do in your restaurant to go the extra mile? What things are you doing to create extra special experiences for your customers? Things that are unexpected and make you stand out as special. Things that make your customers want to come back?
It may be as simple as a little hand written card on the table saying thank you; or a personal telephone call the day after to say thanks. Or, seating the regular customer at their favorite table, or bringing out a yellow rose for a lady to take home. Whatever it is, be sure not to take your regulars for granted instead have a strategy of