Don’t you love it when you recommend someone and that person finds an unexpected way to make you look good? My friend, the popular Restaurant Doctor, Bill Marvin had that experience. Since you could adapt this approach to other situations and strengthen relationships all around I thought I’d share it with you.
Wrote Bill, “A good friend asked me for a restaurant recommendation. She was taking a good friend of hers out for a birthday dinner and wanted something special. She asked me for my opinion of several local restaurants. They were all good … but they were not special.
I recommended The Green Turtle, my favorite local Gig Harbor eatery where I knew they would be well cared-for. I called Nolan Glenn, the owner, just to let him know that were coming and that it was a special occasion. The next day, I got the following e-mail from her: ‘You really are a sweetheart. What a thoughtful thing it was for you to provide the appetizer. Betty ended up choosing the Thai Satay and we enjoyed it thoroughly. In fact, we had a delightful evening. You were really right about the Green Turtle and I will recommend it lavishly.
At your recommendation, I had the tuna, and it was as great as you said. We got samples of their fabulous chowder and Betty was provided with a birthday mousse. She thought it all was very special. Your recommendation was right on the money. Thanks again, so much.’”
Like T. Scott Gross, Bill writes about the power of restaurant owners giving “the unexpected extra” yet, he notes “In this case the restaurant owner doubled up on it. The truth is that I didn’t provide the appetizer. Nolan did… but he gave me credit for it. This got me some unexpected points with my friend.
Not only did he give an unexpected extra to the guests, but he gave me one at the same time! Are these guests likely to come back and say wonderful things about him? You bet! Am I likely to continue to recommend him? Absolutely! This is how it works, folks.”
Suggestion: Owning and operating an independent restaurant isn’t easy. That’s why the turnover is so high. Yet successful restaurateurs have many ways of making diners feel special. So special that people leave with bragging rights that bring them and others into the restaurant. Many of these owners’ customer- delighting ideas could be adapted to other kinds of businesses, including yours perhaps.