My wife and I went to a new sushi restaurant the other evening. Actually it’s the only sushi restaurant in this Midwestern enclave we call home. Nice décor, good service and great food. But there was something missing.
I’ve been to sushi restaurants from Modesto to Milwaukee, Austin to Carmel and Saginaw to Santa Barbara. I’m not sure if I have always received a little something extra from the chef or waitperson but it happens often enough that when it wasn’t offered I was a bit disappointed (which cost them a point or two on my restaurant review scale).
Not too worry! Between our first and second order, the chef hands us a nicely prepared roll of soft shell crab. He saved the day and made the meal.
Your customers’ expectations are often based on past experiences with businesses in your category. Since there’s no local “sushi” competition this restaurant could very easily forego the lagniappe. But they’d be doing themselves more harm than good – because people who’ll sit at the sushi bar have sat at other sushi bars. Will you meet or exceed those expectations? When a customer walks through your door all advertising bets are off. You’ll either delight or disappoint the customer. The only way to delight is to exceed expectations.
Since I this was my first visit to the restaurant, I’m not sure if they mix things up to continually surprise and delight diners. Our waitress asked us if we’d like an appetizer. We declined, but I half expected a bowl of soup, a small salad or a bowl of beans to magically appear as we waited for our Sake and Chardonnay. I did not expect a crab roll. As Gomer Pyle would have put it: “SURPRISE! SURPRISE! SURPRISE1”
Perhaps you think you can’t afford to “give stuff away.” What does a bowl of Miso soup cost? How many ads can you buy for the cost of a $5.00 crab roll?
My partner Roy Williams’ January 2nd Monday Morning Memo “Competitive Environment” http://www.wizardacademy.com gives a brief glimpse into The Customer Experience Index being developed at the Wizard Academy. Be prepared to have your eyes opened in new and exciting ways.
In the meantime if you’re ever in Racine Wisconsin with a hankering for sushi drop by Shogun.