Friday, February 15, 2008

Marketing Musings: Setting the Table

A friend of mine just lent me a booked called Setting the Table by Danny Meyer. Danny is a successful restaurateur/entrepreneur in New York City who has been in business since the 80’s and now has over 10 highly successful hospitality businesses. What I liked best about Setting the Table was Danny’s approach to customer service – no excuses are tolerated for service that is not first class. In Week 39 I asked if it were possible to systematize employee behavior. Danny has moved on from this – the system is the culture in his group and through proper training, every employee understands what they need to do. This excerpt from the book illustrates the somewhat empowered environment and how at the same time, the business is present for every customer:

“Hospitality cannot flow from a monologue. I instruct my staff members to figure out whatever it takes to make guest feel and understand that we are in their corner. I don’t tell staff precisely what to do or say in every scenario, though I do have some pet peeves that I don’t ever want to hear in our dining rooms. I cringe when a waiter asks, “How is everything?” That’s an empty question that will get an empty response. Also, I can’t stand the use of we to mean you, as in “How are we doing so far?” I abhor the question, “Are you still working on the lamb?” If the guest has been working on the lamb, it probably wasn’t very tender or very good in the first place. And if a guest says “Thank you” for something, the waiter should not answer, “No problem.” Since when is it necessary to deny that delivering excellent service is a “problem”? A genuine “You’re welcome” is always the appropriate response.”

Setting the Table, Danny Meyer.

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