Well, there I was, hungry for something different when I came across a great restaurant in Orlando, Florida called Seito Sushi. It’s a family owned business. I discovered that they have a few locations, not by accident, in the Orlando area. In this particular location, in the Baldwin Park area of Orlando, I came across the son and owner of this setting. With my business acumen in full bloom, I could not help but to see how this well oiled machine, well run business could only be a huge success. It seemed effortless, but I knew that was not the case. I knew boat loads of hard work and smart even personality traits where secrets to this restaurants success.
In close proximity to Seito Sushi is another restaurant, name withheld. It is a great location lakeside and the food, actually the appetizers are good. From the immediate looks, I would say they had the potential to be a success. But for some reason, day in and day out, the restaurant was performing very mediocre, while at the same time, just one small giant step away, Seito Sushi was humming. Why? My curiosity beckoned. After further examinations and days of observations, I can offer the following insights.
The end product doesn’t matter if the first point of contact is just “matter of fact”.
When your first point of contact with the customer is mediocre, untrained, and unable to describe the restaurant menu in any manner, never mind positively, to guests entering through the front door, you have already placed a poor taste in a would-be patron’s mouth before they even read the menu.
Entering Seito Sushi provides a calming welcome, enchanting smile, and most importantly an invite in by two well-trained, intelligent hostesses, who know exactly how to make each and every patron entering that door feel special and very welcome. This place is a professional and well-oiled machine, I thought. With this attention to detail, the food must be quite pleasing, was yet another positive picture painted in my mind before even looking at the menu.
It was obvious, that the greeters understood the importance of a prospect walking up to the door inquiring about their restaurant. They understood that it was now their duty to get that person or prospect, if you will, to enter the premises and spend the kind of dollars needed to keep the lights on and make a profit to pay the salaries. Once in the door, they knew that the rest of the team could succeed at the challenge to keep us happy.
The restaurant was packed. The only two vacant chairs in the restaurant were at the sushi bar and positioned right in front of this young thirty-something who was making drinks, managing servers, putting out fires, cashing out checks, and completely knowledgeable and aware of every patron, every server and any person enjoying the establishment. Greeted before my bottom could hit the seat, I was boated, as they say in the fishing business. Pardon the pun, but it is a sushi restaurant. They had me; and I was glad to be had. I felt comfortable; and that I was surely going to be taken care of, and I was.
Which leads me to the second insight
If you hook ‘em, you better boat ‘em.
Now, with this new information, it became clearly understood why the hostess could be so confident. It was also obvious why the hostess at the mediocre establishment lacked the important welcome. The follow-through service at the mediocre place exemplified the initial greeting as non-existent. In fact, it was so poor, that after being ignored, seated at a dirty table, and hearing from no one for at least 15 minutes, out the door we went, never to return.
Meanwhile, over at Seito Sushi, the hostess was not only well-trained with her position, but her confidence in the rest of the staff radiated. She knew that the servers would not let her down. She knew that the servers would certainly carry out all the promises she was delivering through her actions and positioning of the establishment, as she confidently explained the benefits to experiencing Seito Sushi.
Impressed with the training of the staff to this point, I commented to the young “omni-present” thirty-something, the apparent chief, cook and bottle washer, as the saying goes, who was pleasantly conversing with us, while at the same time tracking every action within the establishment, “the staff is trained extremely well”. To which he looked at our waiter and said, “See all that brow beating is paying off”. They shared a laugh. I could tell, from their interaction, that not only did our host run a tight and well-trained ship (I apologize again for the fishing pun) but he had the respect and confidence of his staff. They all seemed to know he was running the ship and that he was taking them all to great places as long as everyone worked together as a team. This leads me to the third insight.
Only attentions to all the little details make the operation first class.
Quality is never an accident. Do not do it at all, if you do not want to do it excellently. A certain price must be paid in terms of practice. It is obvious that our thirty-something was not willing to accept anything less than absolute perfection from his staff. After more discussion it was revealed that he was the owner of that store.
As the owner of the restaurant, he knew his role. He clearly defined his objective of a successful restaurant experience required to get patrons back in the door. He knew that unlimited quality combined with total integrity would create a great dining experience and if he just focused on that objective, the rest would take care of itself, and it sure did.
The food was great and the service was awesome, right from the moment the front door opened. I’d go back there anytime. Excellence and the positive energy created by it garner success. Numerous business owners focus on the wrong items and miss the very little and easy things that can make their business a complete success.
Remember to consider your objective and your level of motivation, and then pay the price to exceed expectations. Take the time to look at your accomplishments, but if you find yourself thinking that you’ve arrived, duck and run for cover, because that’s when failure will strike. It happened one time to the window washer, who from the 50th floor stepped back to admire his work.