From our Principle and Owner, Richard Weil, MCFE, MFCP
There is a difference between Service and Hospitality, as suggested Danny Meyers in his book Setting the Table. I think the world would be well-served by practicing more hospitality these days, and it is a particular challenge for our industry.
There is plenty of inspiration to draw from. I recently came across a video that Anna Dolce, a coach to hospitality leaders, posted on LinkedIn, which speaks to the same. My mentor, Professor Don Smith, actually lived and practiced the art of hospitality in the mid-60s with his highly acclaimed Chateau Louise restaurant, just outside of Chicago. I believe one of the first to truly live hospitality was Peter Gust Economu. He was gracious, debonair, and, above all, hospitable. He even wrote a book on the matter, and everyone in the restaurant industry should own a copy of Your Host.
In the restaurant business, service is an expectation. Hospitality is outreach that goes way beyond the expected. It is possible to exceed guest expectations and provide genuine hospitality at every level of our business. And it starts with setting the example as owners, managers and leaders in our fields. I like to think that good can be found in everyone and that teaching and training hospitality is a belief—a passion—not just words in a mission statement.
We at National Restaurant Consultants work extremely hard to practice these basic principles of hospitality. Simple as it is, we always begin with The Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It helps to stop and really consider those words we’ve all had memorized since childhood. What do you expect when you go to a restaurant? What catches your attention beyond your expectations? Now you know exactly what to strive for within your own establishment.
Today, we all have opinions and we all feel very justified in those opinions. We are so justified, in fact, we have hardened ourselves against the needs and opinions of others, and we have lost a sense of compassion—something that goes a long way when you’re speaking about hospitality.
I am hoping during the next few weeks, as our country draws closer to this very contested and emotional time including dealing with COVID, the election and social unrest, that we can find better ways to look at what our industry is all about. Hospitality does not just happen—it’s as much a verb as a noun and it requires action to exist. Before the year ends, I’m encouraging my colleagues and clients to set just as tangible goals for bringing hospitality to life within their organizations.
Working with a restaurant consultant can go a long way, as well. With our decades’ worth of experience, we can spot the difference between service—an expectation—and hospitality—a bonus that puts smiles and faces and really makes a difference in the world. We would love to speak with you further. Give us a call!