I tend to harp on about the importance of great customer service, usually after I've seen a missed opportunity, or when I'm particularly surprised by a keen young person who exceeds my expectations.
At the moment I've extended this rant to include the conviction that that those with bad service will fail, and then promptly blame the economy. I'm equally convinced that those who excel will see great results on their bottom line, despite the economy.
I was whinging about the poor service at a local establishment recently when a business colleague commented how Italian restaurants are in fact the perfect small business model.
Have you ever noticed, wherever you are in the world, that the service you receive in good Italian restaurants stands out from the rest? And I do mean genuine, family-run and owned Italian locales. Not "La Pizzeria" run by Bob from down the road.
From the moment you walk in you are made to feel welcome. The owners have that knack of always finding you a special seat in their already bustling restaurant. And then you're pleasantly surprised at the end with the bill after a fun and full dining experience.
What is their secret recipe?
Owner operated: This means they never get sick, they work long hours, are committed to the business, and worth 150% of any employee
Family businesses: Tradition, secret recipes, family favourites, a neat team feel. Cheap young staff always on tap; the new learning from the old, the old from the new; succession planning at its best.
Economies of scale: The wonders of a scaleable operation, just as easy to do a big special batch of bolognaise as it is a small one. A perfect franchise model, replicable all around the world.
Simple price model: Low cost, simple ingredients, no wastage, always satisfying and made with love.
Passion! About every aspect of the business.
And the wine. Isn't it amazing how a good cheap basic red tastes so great with pasta?
It all adds up to a triple bottom line, good profits for the restaurant owner, good value for the diner, and well, the food's so great, your own bottom line can't resist it either.
So next time you're dining Italian, think about how you can apply their tried and true business model to your own business. The recipe's just the same, simple materials, great service, customer focused, value add, good processes and procedures, excellent management and an outstanding brand, timeless! - Buon Appetito!