I’ve had about 7000 restaurant meals in my life, counted conservatively. While I will almost always prefer a home-cooked meal if feasible, it’s been an experience from which I’ve gained deep insight in to how the restaurant industry operates. Even more importantly, in receiving services and in customer experience in general.
I realize that after such heavy saturation to any given service, few things are likely to happen.
- The customer is very hard to be impressed
- The customer becomes excessively concerned about quality
- The customer develops an eye for detail
Now back to the restaurant category and towards the promised learnings. At times I eat alone. If you’re eating alone and you wish that the dinner would last a little longer, you know you have something special going on in terms of the customer experience. That leads to my first learning.
“A great customer experience is one that you hope would last a little longer. A bad one is one that you wish would take less time than it does”
Typically people enjoy their meals with a company, and the captivation and the entertainment of the experience comes from time spent with that company. A typical westernized restaurant setting offers only little attraction beyond the food, and in some rare occasions, fabulous service.
Throughout the Asian street kitchens and Japanese restaurants in general, watching the cooking process can be captivating and entertaining. It can also be educating. Last week in Okinawa Japan I had the privilege of having one of the more memorable restaurant meals of my life. Big part of it was my personal Teppanyaki chef. That leads to the third and final learning.
“Do what you love and love what you do. Do it with elegance, deliberation and with a smile on your face”
Every customer experience that I can think of, those where I’m the provider and those where I’m the receiver, work exactly the same way as the Teppanyaki course dinner does. At least in terms of the basic principle of customer service and the right approach to being a customer servant.
When was the last time you wanted a customer experience to last just a little longer?