Hospitality – Learn It From a Restaurateur

IMG_6407The leisure industry makes hospitality its focus. I read about Danny Meyer’s philosophy of hospitality in his book, Setting the Table, and wondered how it might apply to other businesses.

So, last week while in New York City on a rainy Saturday, I had lunch at the Union Square Cafe and spoke to our waiter about what hospitality meant to him. He was quick with responses:

“We are commited to making “charitable assumptions” – that people have a reason for doing what they do. We assume the best in other people. If a customer is late, you’ll like hear something like, “You must have run into a lot of traffic. We’re so glad you’re here.”

“We don’t ‘turn the tables.’ We’re here to make our customers comfortable and unrushed. Our revenue depends on repeat business, not the number of customers in a day.”

“We believe in ‘mistakes well-handled.’ Everyone makes mistakes. Our plan is to ‘write the last chapter’ of the story, so that our customers tell their friends about how we “fixed” it, instead of how terrible it was.”

“During orientation we were told to expect ‘All hands in and all hands out.’ We were taught that everyone puts their hands into the work while they are here, helping out as needed. At the end of the shift, we take our hands out, go home and relax.”

“Optimism and trust. These are the hallmarks of hospitality – belief that customers and co-workers mean well and try their best, confident that we will all contribute to making the visit a pleasant one.”

Talk about one of these concepts at your next staff meeting and consider how it applies to your workplace. Then, let us know how it goes.

Signing off for today…. Carolyn and John

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