The Lessons of Restaurant Impossible: Be Genuine & Approachable
In this last of three blog posts explaining the lessons learned from the Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible reality show, I’ll discuss both of the previously untouched lessons: being genuine and approachable.
I saved these two for last because A) they seem rather self-evident and wont require quite the longwindedness of my other posts and B) they’re connected enough for one post. As far as the show’s concerned, neither of these lessons allow for quite the entertaining histrionics of filthy restaurants or terrible management; even most of the failing restaurants are run by people who genuinely want to succeed. Still, though, Robert Irvine does get these people out into the communities to try to drum up interest in the restaurants’ makeovers, reaching out to their communities and making their passion for their food and service known.
Still, I think other shows make a greater claim as to the importance of being good with people. Look at shows like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, where customers vote where host Guy Fieri goes next, highlighting unassuming local joints. Fieri interviews the diners, and often they express a feeling of warmth — a relationship — with the chef and/or the owners. It feels like home cooking, they’ll often say, or you can taste how much the cook puts into it. People who eat out, myself included, like to feel as though they’re somewhere special — if we can see (and taste) how much the person cooking the food loves feeding people, if we can tell from the service and presentation that the owners, even the waiters, are passionate about making our experience friendly and comfortable, well, then I think we’re going to return to your restaurant over and over.
It goes back to what I wrote about in one of my first blog posts here, which is that restaurant customers want to feel like their having an emotional experience, a personal relationship. It’s not just about eating food, at least if you want them to keep coming back; it’s about making them feel a personal connection to your establishment. The best way to do that? Convince them you care — about your food, about your service, and about them.
I’ll be back next week with a new topic. Until then, contact us here.