I frequently talk about the power of branding, but this simple concept is lost on so many small businesses I visit, restaurants included. These owners and managers are running restaurants, not businesses, and there’s a huge difference. Who would think that my dentist would remind me of this?
The other day, I had a regular dental check up. I really do not like going to the dentist. Most people don’t—this is the point. We visit other small businesses all the time. Whether these are retailers, car washes, other restaurants and yes, even the dentist, we can learn much about the power of building a brand and running a business from those who “get it.”
Since moving to Sun Valley, this was my first visit to a new dentist. As I walked in, soothing music was playing and the waiting room had comfortable atmosphere, WIFI and all the latest magazines. Three women simultaneously greeted me at the counter with a smile, a “good morning” and “you must be Roger.” Wow, I felt like an old friend.
Let me ask you, does your host staff meet, greet and thank everyone who comes in your door like they are regulars?
Next, the staff briefly interviewed me to discuss any concerns or problems before seeing the hygienist, who exclaimed, “I’m going to take great care of you and this will be fun!” This office truly cared and made me feel like I was their only patient.
In your restaurant, think about how your staff can touch each customer in a personal way.
I lay back on the plush reclining sofa and settled in with headphones and a choice between unlimited channels of high-def TV or anything I chose on Pandora. All the unpleasant procedures were not at all as I remembered from my last dentist, but instead were replaced by state-of-the-art equipment.
Is your restaurant keeping up with trends and technology to improve the guest experience?
Last, my new dentist came in, shook my hand and treated me like we went to college together. He gave me a very comprehensive explanation of my results and spent as much time as needed to answer all my questions. As I left, once again all three employees at the front desk said, “have a great day, see you again soon.”
The entire experience showed me that this business (a dentist office) was a brand, with every detail of the service choreographed to make an otherwise unpleasant experience a memorable one—even fun, as promised. Is it any wonder this is the busiest dental practice in town?
The takeaway for your restaurant is this: Make every guest feel like the most important guest, train your staff to notice the thousands of important details, keep innovating to improve, fix anything amiss before the guest notices and, most of all, have fun. Giving your guests lots of reasons to return will fill your seats and your bank account.