During my family holiday last June in the lovely Vilamoura in Portugal, myself and my wife were fortunate enough to have a cooperative 10 month old child sit nicely during our meals in the evening. This in itself was a holiday but it also allowed us to experience the restaurants we wanted and not ones dictated by our son! One evening we stumbled across a lovely Italian restaurant just off the main marina. Good food, excellent service and very reasonably priced. It was only after we had paid for the bill on our second visit, that we discovered something very unique about it.
Il Trio restaurant is run by 3 friends, hence the name. For the majority of businesses, especially in the restaurant industry, the owner/s will always have a presence. However, in this particular restaurant the owners have gone one step further. They not only have a presence in the restaurant, they are front of house staff! Two of the friends are waiters, while the third is the head chef. It’s a unique approach and a very effective one.
So it got me thinking. How important is it to be ‘front of house’? Whilst this is not feasible for MDs of some larger companies, the vast majority of SMEs should be like Il Trio. On both visits to the restaurant we were met at the door, shown to our table, handed our menu, served our food and wine, given our bill and thanked for our custom and all by one of the owners. Yes they had other staff but the owners themselves were in the thick of things.
The same principle should be applied to every business. No customer wants to receive a warm welcome and thank you at the end but have a bad 3 course meal experience in the middle. As a manager, staying in touch with your client throughout a project ensures that they are receiving the best service and experience they can have. Yes you can patch things up at the end of a project if things did not go as the client had expected but wouldn’t it be far better to be like the 3 friends of Il Trio? There is no substitute for the comfort and confidence that your client will experience if you, as a Director, are front of house making sure first hand that everything is as it should be.
So if you have a habit of greeting your client at the front door and being there to say goodbye with nothing in between, take a leaf out of Il Trios book and at the very least check in on them a couple of times to make sure they are happy so that they will return to you for more.