MJ Flanagan comments on recent examples of customer service as highlighted in the Evening Standard this week.
Two contrasting stories in the Evening Standard (22nd January) clearly illustrated the importance of the 'wow factor' in restaurant service. The first story referred to 'The Oriel' in London's Sloane Square; where due to a poor meal experience, freeholder the Earl of Cadogan has declared that he won't renew their lease in 18 months time. Instead he will refurbish the site and offer it to 'an independent trader who is committed to producing good food'.
Local residents are petitioning to stop the transfer; oh how we Brits love to save something. The restaurant is practically an institution. In fact I worked there for a while 20 years ago in its heyday. I haven't eaten there for many years so can't comment on the quality of their food and service. Perhaps they have become complacent though, which sadly has happened too many an 'institution'.
Compare this with Harvey Nichols' OXO Tower restaurant, which during the recent heavy snows fortified its customers with complimentary hot chocolate as they departed whilst team members slipped hand warmers into their coat pockets. I'd say this is the embodiment of legendary New York restaurateur (and, some say, provider of the best restaurant service in the world) Danny Meyer's philosophy 'ensure the last word is a positive one'.
It is only through consistent, heartfelt and pure hospitality that customers will return and tell others. So come on restaurateurs, what are you and your teams doing to warm the hearts, minds and hands of your customers?