Remember my name

I recently read a story in Adweek about Danny Meyer, the restaurateur known for Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Café in New York as well as Shake Shack. His book, “Setting the Table,” is a must-read for hospitality managers.

A couple of comments in the article caught my eye, as Meyer says there is a difference between service and hospitality, and a restaurant needs both. Service is “that degree to which you did what you do well.” Hospitality is how you make the guest feel.

Meyer says, “Hospitality describes the degree to which the person on the receiving end of your service feels like you’re on their side. You could eat at one of our restaurants and we might get everything right, but you still haven’t told me if you feel good. Service is technical, hospitality is emotional, and they are as different as night and day.”

I felt this was very appropriate for everyone in our business. As an independent, we are closer to the customer in many ways. We don’t give our staff scripted responses, and we can react quickly and make decisions when need be. 

The article relates to an anecdote about how James Beard grew tired of naming names when people would ask him for his favorite restaurant. Finally he said, “My favorite restaurant and your favorite restaurant should be the one that loves us the most.”

That’s the goal of all our places, to become that restaurant that remains on your shortlist of the places that you feel love you the most. That’s our role. It all goes back to the theme song from the television show “Cheers.” You wanna be where everybody knows your name.