Archive for February, 2010

Setting The Table…

Written by mitch. Posted in Uncategorized

I just returned home from dinner at the end of what seems like a marathon Anniversary Weekend. Yesterday, we celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary with a very small group of our most intimate friends. It was a very special luncheon made even more special by our kids who put the whole thing together.
One of oldest and closest friends taught me that “Friends are the family you get to choose…” and this was a very special “family” occasion.
This evening, we had dinner with our kids and our daughters “young man.” In a toast, my wife put it together better than I ever could… Here’s what she said… “Yesterday afternoon we had lunch with the friends who have become our family… And, this evening we get to have dinner with our family – who have become friends!” Wow!
But, believe it or not, that isn’t what I’m writing about.
I’m writing about this evening’s dinner experience which was incredible in every respect. It was made even more special… at least, for me, because I am in the middle of Danny Meyer’s, Setting The Table – a book about restaurants and what he likes to call, “gracious hospitality.”
If you don’t know who Danny Meyer is I’ll do my best to help you understand. But, let’s just say it would be worth a trip to New York and an evening or afternoon spent dining at one of his many restaurants to truly understand. I had the privilege of experiencing “gracious hospitality” at two of his restaurants and believe me, it’s an experience you want to repeat!
It’s really all about picking the right people: people who want to shine… people who want to create great art in the kitchen and deliver the gift of great service at the table.
We had a Danny Meyer experience in Westlake this evening at Tuscany. We had some of the best food we’ve had outside Manhattan and the best service we’ve ever had anywhere. It wasn’t inexpensive – But, I didn’t expect it to be inexpensive. However, it didn’t leave you questioning the value of what was received either. Our server shared the menu with artful enthusiasm and actually persuaded my son NOT to have something on the menu because as he put it, “It’s the worst thing on the menu!” The young man who helped my son select the wine was equally as honest and enthusiastic… They knew their products and they understood their clientele. The service was attentive without being overbearing. In other words, it was elegant!
What else can you say about a dinner at a restaurant like this other than that it was expensive… and, worth every penny! All you can say is that it helped make a special event even more special.
We have a service business that you would think has virtually nothing to do with serving fine food. We service and maintain automobiles and trucks. And, yet, there is a lot to be learned from a Danny Meyer experience regardless of where you experience it. There was a great deal of energy and effort apparent in the training invested in the staff. There was enthusiasm, pride and excitement. There was a definite desire to ensure a powerful and positive experience. And, it was obvious the goal was to have you return as soon as possible, and to have you share a great experience with your friends, family members and colleagues.
All I can say is that it worked! And, that I’ll take this experience back to the shop with me and try to help our people understand the importance of understanding, practicing and delivering “gracious hospitality” in every interaction we have with our customers, clients and friends with the same powerful goals in mind…