My family and I had sushi at a local place recently and it was a great experience. Now this place is no fine dining establishment, no, this place fits the description of a joint, a sushi joint. It is like a corner bar as opposed to a lounge. The thing is none of this low-end material stuff matters. What this place lacks in décor and ambiance it more than makes up for in being easy going and friendly.
We went in to order take-out and were having trouble with the huge variety of options. I like sushi but I am no aficionado, I am an amateur at best. Anyway, the owner was standing nearby and made some suggestions. He was very clear about the ingredients and why we might like one thing more than another. He was friendly, he was patient, he was a teacher. In fact, speaking of teaching, this guy should be teaching other businesses how it’s done.
We made our order and started chatting with the owner and the staff who were around. While we were talking, the owner motioned to one of the guys making the sushi rolls and presented us with a sampling of another type of roll we hadn’t considered. I asked him why he did it and he said he wanted us to get a taste of something else for our next visit. Wow, this is the way to do it. He made the wait worthwhile and he set the stage for us to come back. It was service and marketing in one act.
So what’s the big lesson here? By being aware of his customers, being patient and sharing information, and demonstrating hospitality, this restaurant owner created return customers and all it cost him was a little time and three pieces of sushi. Small gifts yielded what will be big returns as I am sure this will become our regular sushi place, in fact, I want him to succeed because he and his place are valuable to me now.
What is your business doing to be valuable to your customers? Do they want you to succeed so you’ll be around when they need whatever it is you provide?