Tale of Two Restaurants

This past weekend I was out with my wife, Idel, and son, Antonio, and as always, I’m looking for great service. If you have been to a BOS mentorship you know how much Dan and I like our restaurant analogies; I think there are parallels in both industries.

Here is the tale of two restaurants… One did it right, the other…Not so much!

Restaurant #1

On Saturday we went out for brunch to a new place that is “supposed” to be amazing. The chef/owner has another critically acclaimed restaurant, and this is his second venture. Everything went wrong from the start.

When we walked in with Antonio, who’s only 16-months old, the VERY FIRST thing the Maitre D says to me is “Oh sorry we have no highchairs for babies.” Mind you we haven’t even let the door close at this point.

What did he do wrong? After all he was just telling us the truth…Right?

One of the worst things you can do to turn a potential client off is to impact them negatively. The truth is they don’t have highchairs, but he could have easily just said it in a different way. How about…”Welcome to our restaurant, I see you have a little one. I’m sorry but we don’t have highchairs, but we can sit you in a booth if that’s better for you…”

If you know me, I’m a huge foodie and this place was supposed to be great, so I took it on the chin and we sat at a regular table, not a booth. I looked around and there were at least three other families with similar age toddlers all wresting their kids to stay seated at a grown-up table.

Either this is just the restaurants way of saying they don’t want kids, or they are just too ignorant to realize that if you are going to open a breakfast/brunch place in the burbs you are going to get a lot of families!

The next problem…the food and the price.

For a “world class” chef, we were most definitely expecting more. Nothing jumped off my plate as outstanding and the prices were 25-30% higher than most places in the same space. We got two breakfast entrées, fresh juice, a fruit platter for Antonio, and a cappuccino and the bill was nearly $100!!

Needless to say, we will not be back.

Restaurant #2

Sunday, we went to lunch at a well-known chain PF Chang’s. My mother had bought us a gift certificate and we were looking to get out for a bit. Love it or hate it they do a lot of things right.

For starters they greet you at the front with a warm welcome. They interacted with Antonio and asked us immediately if we wanted a highchair or a booster and that they would put us in a booth.

The waitress was so nice to Antonio and went out of her way to make sure he was ok. Brought him some crayons, a sippy cup, and an extra fortune cookie…He was in love!

The food…always consistent…always reasonably priced.

PF Chang’s has always had good food and over the years they keep getting better. The one thing that surprises me is how reasonable the price is.

One app, two sushi rolls, two entrees, two cocktails, and a tiny scoop of ice cream for Antonio and the bill was less than $100 and we were STUFFED!

What are the lessons to be learned?

1.   ALWAYS greet potential clients with a warm welcome and be willing to work with them to make sure their first experience with you is amazing, even if that means bending the rules a bit. Nothing sends someone packing faster then an unwillingness to see things from their perspective.Remember, the goal is to find solutions not roadblocks!

2.   Pricing Strategy – If you are going to be HIGH-END and believe me, I’m in favor for high-end, you must deliver HIGH-END service and product. If you’re at the top of the price charts in your space but under deliver in product, you could be setting yourself up for massive failure.The only thing worse than an unfriendly unaccommodating staff is buyer’s remorse; you know the feeling you have when you buy something and regret doing it for days because it wasn’t worth it of didn’t live up to its billing!

3.  Train Great Service – If you don’t review, recognize and reward great service your staff will not know how to give it. Make sure you send time teaching others what great service looks like and how to deliver it.

Separate yourself by delivering UNBELIEVABLE service they didn’t know existed in your space all the time. This comes from the leadership at the top all the way to the janitor at the bottom!

Make sure your prices fit your service. If you’re getting these emails, it’s because you are already in the TOP 1% of all small business gym owners out there. Most are offering some type of premium service. You must constantly look for ways to improve the customer experience and how you and your staff can WOW them.

Over-deliver EVERY TIME, not sometimes. This must be a constant for as long as you’re in business. Remember the gym business is the ULTIMATE service business. We give our time, energy, and love to people every day.

If you want them to continue to do the same, you have to give them a reason.

Stay Strong,
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