This is what my perfect restaurant experience would look like

Following from my last post and continuing my new series on Making Things Better, here is my perfect restaurant experience:

  • I’d come across it through a recommendation, from a trusted foodie friend or from a newspaper column by a food person that I liked such as Nicolas Lander in the FT.
  • I’d look up the restaurant + reviews and see what Tripadvisor says. If it’s above 4.5 stars out of 5, then I’m going to look closer.
  • Next, I’d go on the restaurant’s website. It should be clearly laid out and the menu would be easy to find.
  • The menu would be fairly short (one page) and clear and to the point. No words like ‘nestled on a bed of crushed new potatoes and crowned with a foamy jus’.
  • The wine list would be short as well (one page), with well selected red and whites and fortified wines. Good red and whites should be available by the glass and by carafe as well as by the bottle.
  • Next I look at its booking policy. I don’t mind no reservation as long as the queue on arrival is no more than 10 mins. If able to book, then I would like to use a hosted and embedded platform like Opentable so that I don’t have to call the restaurant.
  • If I have to call, then I would like the conversation to go:
    • Good morning, this is <restaurant>, this is <name> speaking. How can I help you?
    • I would like to make a booking please.
    • Yes of course. When would you like to book for?
    • Next Thursday at 7.30pm if possible?
    • How many in your party please?
    • 2 in total.
    • I’ve just checked and we are unfortunately fully booked at that time but would 8pm work for you instead?
    • Yes that would be good thank you.
    • Excellent. If I could please take your name, telephone number and email address, I will then send you a text and email confirmation of your booking for next Thursday. Is there anything else that I can help with you today?
    • No thank you.
    • Perfect, thank you very much and we look forward to seeing you next Thursday Mr Chan.
  • I receive a clear email notification within 10 seconds of ending the call as well as a text.
  • On the evening itself, I get there with my wife and the front door person greets me with a warm smile and asks if I have a reservation. I say I do and they say ‘Of course. Could I take your coat or bag please? Please follow my colleague to your table.’
  • The tables aren’t too close to each other.
  • There are white table cloths and nice cutlery with white linen napkins.
  • There is a nice hubbub from the other diners
  • There’s an excited atmosphere of what’s to come
  • The wait staff pulls out the chair for my wife and then for me.
  • They present my wife with the wine list and we have a menu each.
  • They ask if we’re hungry. If so, they recommend starters and their favourite main courses but of course they follow our lead on what we want
  • Then they suggest considered wines to accompany each dish or they follow our lead with our choice of wine. The wines are good value and not too much above what I would expect those wines to cost.
  • 5 minutes later, they return with a free drink, something like an interesting apertif
  • Our starters arrive with some complimentary fresh bread and proper butter at room temperature, as well as with our wines. They are equally delicious, with neither of us feeling like they missed out.
  • Our plates are cleared within 2 minutes of us finishing and our tables are wiped down discreetly of any mess and crumbs
  • Our main dishes arrive with their own wines.They are equally delicious, with neither of us feeling like they missed out.
  • And again our plates are cleared within 2 minutes of us finishing and our tables are wiped down discreetly of any mess and crumbs
  • The toilets are spacious and spotless and smells fresh. There are nice plants and flowers with good music playing but not too loudly. There are ample urinals which have detergent blocks inside them. There are huge mirrors and nice soaps with the choice of real hand towels or air dry.
  • We are offered the dessert menu and when we decline, we are offered complimentary teas and coffees.
  • When we leave, we are helped into our coats and the door is opened for us and they shake our hands goodbye and they say ‘Thank you very much for coming. We hope to see you very soon.’
  • The next day, they send a nice email to say thanks again for our visit and that on our next visit, we would have a complimentary glass of wine.

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