A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a Perfect Experience. While the memory still remains and my wife and I are still telling the story (talk about word of mouth marketing), I got to thinking how was that perfection made possible. Really, wouldn’t every business want to deliver a perfect experience? And the reality of it was that this is the first time that I can remember ever having a perfect experience.
In the comments to the story post, Cindy remarked that she believed that trust was a key component. I think that Cindy hit the nail on the head. Charlie trusted his team to attempt perfection each and every time. If the team felt that they needed olive oil from the farm in Australia or wanted to try to make a new sorbet out of onions, it was no problem. There was no expense spared to ensure that the team had the right tools to allow for perfection.
Even the team that prepared the food was trusted. Contrary to what you might expect, the kitchen was not filled with culinary experts. Sure there were some unbelievably talented chefs, but there were also a significant number of students and less experienced chefs. They trusted in one another to do a great job. The experienced chefs were always available to show a student how to use a new tool or perform a specific step in a recipe. Each plate that was served was inspected by a pro to ensure that the guest’s experience was spectacular.
The front of the house staff was no less focused on the perfection of service than the chefs. They made sure that every guest was able to enjoy their meals, from wine suggestions (a difficult chore when there are over 20,000 bottles of wine on hand) to explanations of the menu choices and ingredients used. They were able to take guests on a tour of the kitchen and really bring the experience to life. They made sure that all aspects of the dining experience that guests see were perfect.
The trust extended to allowing us to sit in the kitchen while the meal service was being performed around us. How many businesses would be able to feel comfortable allowing their customers to watch every step in the creation process? I have posted about living your life in public (like baseball players), but this is even a step beyond that.
Charlie makes no bones about the mission for his restaurant. He wants to deliver excellence in everything he does. And he does it in an entirely unconventional way — by trusting in his team to do the right thing. Yes, you have to have the right experts. Yes, you have to have the right tools. But the key is to make sure that you have a clear vision of what perfection is for you and then communicate that to your team. If you have the team, the tools and the vision, then trust is what will allow it all to come together.