Are you creating an experience that matters?

Restaurant Week has become an annual event that continues to gain momentum across the country.  Cities typically position it in January, shortly after the Holidays to help bolster what is historically a slow period for the restaurant industry.  In addition to satisfying taste buds, the event also serves as a fundraiser for local non-profits.  

For the Kansas City metro area, the 13th Annual Restaurant Week is now underway.  Whether you prefer take-out or dine-in this is a great way for local chefs to showcase their talents and encourage you to support an industry that has been hit particularly hard over the last couple years.  But even in the face of adversity, restaurateurs continue to make this a philanthropic week and donate proceeds.  In fact, since it’s KC inception, the event has raised 3 million dollars for local organizations!    

“Life is a journey with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy.”

– Unknown

A recent take-out order came with multiple samples beyond what was ordered with the entrée.  It was unexpected and added to the meal.  Each sample was neatly packaged in a separate container. The unexpected addition positively impacted “the experience” of the meal.  Was there a cost to the restaurant?  Yes.   Will the restaurant get a return on their investment?  That’s probably yet to be determined.  But the element of surprise or little extra definitely had an impact on “the experience”.  

“The Experience” creates an emotional connection, the expectation was for the entrée to include exactly what was ordered, the additional samples created an emotional connection that the restaurant wanted to provide a little extra to make the dining experience with their business memorable.  Anytime you can combine a quality product or service with a positive emotional connection you’re on the right path! 

Restauranteurs painstakingly debate and discern the exact words they should use to describe their dishes.  If you need some examples compare the menus of a few of the breakfast/lunch chains that have popped up over the last few years.  Who would have thought different combination of breakfast staples like Bacon, Eggs, Pancakes, and Fruit could have so many different names? The goal is simple, to make them sound interesting, inviting, and tasty!  And of course much better than what you could make yourself at home!

But what happens if when your order arrives there is something missing? the table isn’t ready? the food is cold?  Something happens that impacts your emotions and “the experience”.

As you make your way to your favorite eateries this week, consider asking yourself these two questions.

     #1) Why did I choose this restaurant?

     #2) Was there anything about this restaurant that will bring me back?

Why you choose the restaurant will be about “the product”. 

Why you go back will be more about “the experience”.  

Every business including yours, has the ability to impact “The experience”.  It takes focus, effort, and training, but one thing it does not need to take is a lot of capital. 

Make an effort to get out and enjoy some great food this week! Your participation is helping an industry that is struggling plus you’ll be helping local organizations.  Don’t forget to ask the two questions.  And, ask them of your own business as well.  If you don’t like the answer for the 2nd question, view it has an opportunity to discern ways to bring more of your customers back too!

What about you?  Do you think “The Experience” still matters?  Does your business focus on it? Do you build strategies around it?  Feel free to share any great Restaurant Week dishes or experiences you have enjoyed! 

As always, we value your comments in the space below.

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach

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