Exceeding Expectations

How many times do you get one of these surveys, specially after buying a new car (see my previous blog titled Surveys and Car Dealers where they expect you to fill them always with the top score? (Meaning that they’ve exceeded all your expectations).

If we followed the car dealers’ standards, “Exceeding Expectations” would mean OK service…

Or did they delivered the car to your door at work or at home? Did they give you an incredible discount or did something so out of the ordinary that you were in shock and awe (and not in a negative way!) because it greatly surprised you?

These would be cases of exceeding expectations. Giving you a free pot coffee while you wait for the salesman or just going for a test car ride are not. All the dealers do this, so we expect this from them.

They never impressed me much so I guess that I should rate them with 3 stars (average) although they always demand 5 (exceeded expectations) for some unfounded reason.

Perhaps their expectations are lower than normal after you spend more than $25,000 on their product?

But I digress.

Going back to the restaurant business, how many times do think your clients believe that you’ve exceeded their expectations? Sometimes, seldom, never?

How many times did you go to another restaurant where they’ve exceeded your expectations?

It didn’t happen too many times to me.

Perhaps because this industry is very predictable and it’s difficult to be original, or perhaps because we are too conservative to try anything new, dinning at most restaurants is a totally prdictive experience.

Sure you expect good food and good service at reasonable prices. Every restaurant should give you at least that, but what about surprising your clients with some unpredicted extras? They don’t need to be expensive, it is more a matter of thinking than of spending money.

For example, you could tell your chef to prepare some small appetizers that you could give, on the house, to your clients when they order their drinks. Or you can ask your waiters to replace napkins when somebody leaves the table to go to the bathroom or to make a phone call, etc. You could, for example, one night buy flowers and give one rose (or some other flower) to each woman in the restaurant, give a little sack to each guest (or table) with some spices that you’ve used in the dishes… The sky is the limit!

These are very cheap things for you to do that will pleasantly surprise your clients. These little things will exceed their expectations because they don’t get it anywhere else and therefore they are not expecting it.
But don’t do always the same things or they will become routine. Come up with new ideas, always new, always fresh and unexpected. Setup an idea context among your employees and give a price to the ones that give you the best ideas.

Not only your clients will love your place, but you will also make your restaurant unique and invite your clients to repeat their visits looking forward to be “surprised” and enjoy their dinning experience.
Thanks for reading and happy sailing,

Jose L Riesco
© Riesco Consulting Inc.
www.twitter.com/jlriesco
http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

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