Imagine that your customers have been waiting for something since last spring.
Imagine that you’ve spent time attracting the kind of customers who care about their food, about seasonality.
Imagine how thrilled they might feel when the spring menu has a fabulous sounding dish on it. One that really heroes that key ingredient: asparagus.
Brilliant. Spring is here, the asparagus is back in season and they’re going to order it.
Only one problem.
This is actually the dish.
Now, there is technically nothing wrong with this dish. It contains everything that was listed on the menu.
Just it’s a bit hard to spot the asparagus.
Not to mention it doesn’t look very grilled. And the broad beans were a bit of surprise, albeit pleasant.
How is this about business?
I know, you didn’t come here to learn about my lunch. There are 3 important business lessons hidden in here.
The original dish sounded brilliant. If I’d ordered it straight off the menu and this had arrived then I’d have been a bit disappointed, no matter how good it was.
I already had an expectation in my head about what it was going to be, and this definitely wasn’t it.
Luckily for the restaurant we had an incredible waiter, Eduardo, who took the time to explain what the dish actually was. What he described is exactly what turned up. He’d described it so well that we still went ahead and ordered it as a dish in its own right, rather than what the menu had led us to believe.
The 3 key lessons
There are three important things for me in this experience:
- Don’t slavishly follow trends if it’s not helping the customer. It’s very trendy at the moment for menus to just list the component parts. It’s not helpful to the customer though, and can lead to disappointment.
- Tell the story properly. There was a great dish in here, just its story had got lost.
- If you’ve decided not to follow the first two lessons, then make sure you employ a darned good storyteller to help your customers out. Or else a very good customer complaints department to deal with the fall out.
In this case, I will go back to Tom’s Kitchen at Somerset House because Eduardo, and the cooking, saved the day. Without Eduardo’s intervention then I could have left having enjoyed the dish but with a lingering sense of disappointment.
That’s not really the ideal way to leave customers feeling, not when everyone has so many choices in everything these days. Whilst it’s a bit of a cliché to say you want to surprise and delight customers, or go the extra mile, or any of those sayings, there’s more than a grain of truth in there.
So when you’re thinking about your stories, whether it’s your big brand story or just today’s blog post, think about whether it will delight or disappoint. Tom’s Kitchen didn’t set out to disappoint, but they let other things get in the way of the most important thing.
No, not the asparagus.