Sharing a meal is a staple act of human interaction. Milestone events such as engagements, anniversaries, promotions, special announcements, and holidays are typically associated with sharing a meal with loved ones. More than ever, people are looking for an experience in addition to their food when they dine out. So much of human interaction is over digital means these days, so opportunities for in-person interaction are rare and valuable. Thus, your guests want their meal to be an experience more than just a necessity.
Chef to Table
Part of the enjoyment of dining out is eating a meal without exerting energy to cook and clean up after it. However, there is a certain enjoyment to watching others prepare a meal, particularly if they are skilled at it. Encourage your chefs to have personal interaction with your guests. This can range from checking in at the end of a meal to having the chef prepare part of the meal at the table. If your chefs are unable to make that kind of commitment, which is reasonable, train your servers to bring a taste of the kitchen to the table. Offering freshly ground pepper, tossing the salad, or adding some type of garnish at table provides an air of freshness and personability that is rare and enchanting.
Comfort is King
Like never before, stress is a prevalent feature of the human experience. Twenty-first century life is hectic and demanding for the vast majority of people. Dining out is supposed to mitigate stress by limiting responsibility. The dining environment and practices within it should be ordered to providing a stress-free experience. There are a few atypical practices that generate a sense of luxury. Pre-meal hand towels are a great way to help your guests feel fresh and relaxed. If you are able to provide heated towels, you will garner extra brownie points. Further, look for opportunities to offer complimentary items. Instruct your staff to notice when their guests are celebrating special occasions. A well time free dessert could win you a lifetime of loyalty.
Don’t Forget the Essentials
All that said, you will not generate a loyal following if you provide a memorable environment but the food quality is poor. Every ornamental addition to the environment must amplify the enjoyment of the meal, not distract from second rate fare. The reverse of this is true as well. Disney is not primarily a meal provider; however, people leave their theme parks certain that the turkey legs and Dole ice cream they purchased, at exorbitant prices, cannot be matched anywhere else for quality or enjoyment. Disney has perfected the balance between quality, experience, and profit. In fact, the Disney blend of experience and quality enables them to hike up their profit margins. Delivering the perfect balance between quality and experience enable you to deliver something invaluable in the joy you create, which is highly profitable
Once you move away from a purely transactional dynamic to a relational dynamic between your staff and your guests, you begin to generate an invaluable experience. Genuine, solicitous service resounds. Make your restaurant a place where people go to live well rather than just eat well.
Challenge: bring your chef out to the dining area to meet a regular patron today.
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