This week D and I went for a little wander around the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood in Singapore. We were looking for a place to eat and were pulled into a restaurant by a very gregarious owner. What followed for the next hour was a real delight because:
1. The owner came outside and pulled us inside
While we were reading the menu outside and peering through the blinds on the window, the owner came outside and said:
"Bro, you aren't going to able to see or taste the food from outside. Just come in and eat"
He didn't really give us a chance to confer or even disagree. We just followed him in without even thinking about it. It wasn't too pushy and was said in a very matter-of-fact manner.
2. He took the time to think about what we might want
Some people get offended about being "food profiled". I don't - I love it. It is one less decision I need to make. In a very confident but pleasant way he told that one pizza would be enough for the two of us. When we told him we were vegetarian he told us what the favourite was and suggested we try it. He also (correctly) assumed we want the pizza to have chillis and told us he would arrange it.
3. He offered alternatives when he couldn't provide the first choice
When he found he did not have any orange juice left, he told us clearly and asked if cranberry juice would be ok. He poured a little extra in each cup to make up for it - without being prompted.
4. He asked how the food was and made a personal connection
It is amazing how many restaurant staff forget to do this. It is so simple and costs nothing. Despite running the restaurant floor alone, he came over and asked how the food was or if we needed more drinks. He told us a little about the restaurant and introduced himself. He asked us our names and where we are from. D observed that every single person who walked in would greet him by his first name and with a warm handshake. As every sales and marketing person knows, the cost of keeping an acquired customer happy is way less than the cost of acquiring a new customer.
5. He did something memorable and told us to come back soon
As we were leaving the restaurant and paying the bill at the counter, he noticed D was eyeing up the collection of cakes on the shelf. With no prompting he took the final piece down, wrapped it up and handed it to her with a smile and free of charge. There is no way I will be able to keep her away from that place now ;)