Experience is Everything: ITEMS To Make Your Restaurant Matter

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Article contributed by Janet Davis, JADE Jamaican Grill

Experience is everything! But, is it your thing? More and more Americans are moving away from accumulating stuff and instead are focusing on experiences. Individually or shared, research substantiates that consumers’ value systems are shifting from mindless consumption of goods to stimulating engagement. Whether a 10-city European tour with the whole family, a five night stay at a luxury hotel, or a four course couples dinner party at home with a private chef, people are living in a more meaningful way; they are sharing experiences and making memories with the ones they love.

So it begs the question, what do people get when they get you? That is, what do your customers experience when they enlist your business? In an ocean brimming with thousands of options for every category of service or product, how does your brand measure up? At the heart of food and hospitality is service. At the heart of service is excellence. How can brands achieve this in an overcrowded, competitive marketplace? By ensuring all ITEMS are in their upright and locked position.

ITEMS are the building blocks to a remarkable customer experience. The five foundational principles of ITEMS guarantee that with each encounter – when the work is performed, the service rendered and the event over – the lasting impression is one of excellence.

The key ITEMS are Introduction, Treatment, Expectation, Message and Satisfaction.

You’re familiar with first impressions no doubt. It is there at the launching pad of that initial connection that the stage is set for turning a prospect into a customer. But, as with any launching pad, you can take off, liftoff, or sputter. Whether that’s taking place online, on the phone, on paper or in person, your brand must lead with the awareness that the initial encounter is paramount. This sets the tone for a relationship, a path to moving forward, or not at all. So, begin at the introduction.

Introduction

…is simply that, introducing the brand by highlighting what it has to offer in an unforgettable way. For example, when entering a place of business it should be organized, clean, and inviting. The greeter should be warm, responsive and knowledgeable. If this is happening online, the visual should be appealing and in line with what you’re promoting. The same holds true for an in-person meeting. As an agent of the brand, you should be a reflection of its standard both in presence and substance. When done well, these introductions open the gate to going from consumer to customer.

  • Atosa USA
  • Inline Plastics
  • RAK Porcelain
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • McKee Foods
  • Day & Nite
  • Easy Ice
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Imperial Dade

Treatment

…is as important as securing the sale. This is the first part of the service piece. It is how you handle the ‘job’ going forward. Here requires excellent communication, responsiveness, and the overall hands-on care that the client, vendor, or customer desires. This reinforces their initial decision and that they indeed made the right choice. Of the three middle stages, the treatment is the key that determines the longevity of the relationship, effectively ushering the customer into being a client. This is important because you can complete a job without delivering on the experience. How you get to the fish line matters. So, treat the treatment with all diligence.

Expectation

…is the promise. What was I promised, what did I buy, and did I get what I paid for? Ask yourself these questions along the way as a constant reminder of the customer’s expectation. If you reflect on them while you work, and are able to answer in the affirmative every step of the way, you will never need to worry about the customer asking you. You will be lockstep with their vision.

Message

…is the tone and tenor of your brand experience, your unique, unmatched and incomparable operation. It’s the final piece of that middle, that process part of the customer experience. Simply put it is the attitude of your business.

Satisfaction

…is the sum total of the key components. It is the finished product with all the necessary boxes checked with the highest possible rating.

Consumers are casual until they are not. With the right brand position a consumer can quickly and easily become a customer. As one year comes to a close and a new one approaches there’s no better time for an experiential audit. The questions you should be asking are how’s my brand standing, is it in line with my messaging, am I exceeding expectations, and how can I surpass my current position?

Remember, experience is everything, so place your focus there. If all your ITEMS are in their upright and locked position your customer experience score will be two thumbs up. When this happens you’ve turned a one-time affair into a long term client.


Chef Janet Davis JADE Jamaican Grill

Janet Davis is the CEO of Cherry Hill, NJ-based JADE Jamaican Grill, a food, special event and media enterprise comprised of JADE Grill and JADE Consulting. In 2016, JADE graced the culinary scene at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, bringing its distinctive flavor to the Media Party at Citizens Bank Park and the Welcome Delegate Reception at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts. Chef Janet has made numerous appearances on NBC, FOX, PBS and PHL TV in Philadelphia, and has been featured in Catering Magazine and the Philadelphia Tribune. A sought-after speaker whose repertoire includes Princeton, Drexel and Temple Universities, Janet has served as keynote speaker for the 3rd Annual Women’s History Month Celebration for Union Township, New Jersey, Moderator at the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Expo and session presenter at the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York. Through her visionary leadership, Janet has orchestrated strategic alliances with RWJ University Hospital, Bloomingdale’s, the New Jersey Food Processors Association (NJFPA) and others. 

  • Cuisine Solutions
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Inline Plastics
  • Atosa USA
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Imperial Dade
  • RAK Porcelain
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Day & Nite
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • Easy Ice
  • McKee Foods

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