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Leadership at the peak – Example of service excellence

By George W Nyabadza

THE city of Cape Town is covered with restaurants of all types, offering all kinds of cuisine. One wonders what draws patrons from one to the other.

Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Granted a fair number of restaurant goers in the Cape city and along the beach and Waterfront are tourists who are usually guaranteed to experiment with anything exotic. But how about for Capetonians themselves? What makes them frequent selected establishments over and over again?

I found out the reason easily enough – great service. I had the opportunity to be taken around by a friend who described himself as a “connoisseur of fine cuisine”. Who was I to argue?

My favourite food, even after my Cape experience, still remains rich gravy oxtail, sadza and freshly cooked relish. One afternoon we decided to have lunch at a seafront restaurant, apparently famed for its ambience and its food.

I remember we walked in just after noon with our minds set on leaving no later than 2.30 so that we could use the rest of the afternoon for other recreational activities. I wasn’t aware that I was about to experience first class service from what appeared a standard establishment.

The greeting

My friend was recognised by name by the manager and at least two other waiters. Now you need to picture a restaurant that sits close to 70 people at peak time, with the staff greeting a fair number of guests by first name.

What was remarkable about this greeting was not just the remembrance of my friend’s name but the fact that the manager and the waiter who showed us to our table asked for my name and throughout the luncheon they would at various intervals ask me, by name, what the food and the environment was like.

I only realised later that they use this friendly approach to etch the names and faces of their clients on to their minds. It is guaranteed that if you walk back into the restaurant they will remember you. My friend tells me that he had not being in the restaurant for at least a month.

The service

I had never before observed precision service like I did that afternoon. It seemed to me that in the area that we sat in, which catered for eight tables with approximately 50 people, there was a programmed routing to check up on each client every 15 minutes. None of the usual casual saunter to the table and a general “is everything OK?”

When the waiter or the manager came by, the focus was on George or the next person in a quick but professional manner that made you feel truly appreciated for your presence. It wasn’t a fuss, neither was it too overbearing. It was as if you were sitting on your own for that brief moment of attention.

Our original intention was to leave by 2.30 but we walked out of that restaurant another four hours latter, simply because we had another engagement to go to. I noticed that most of the groups that we found in the restaurant when we came in seemed in no rush to leave.

I can guarantee you that I will be back and that I will recommend this restaurant to everyone visiting the area. The investment in the place wasn’t much, just simple steps on the human side to create a brilliant unforgettable experience.

South African-based George W Nyabadza is the chief executive officer of Achievement Success Dynamics International. For more information on leadership development programmes please visit our website www.achievement-success.com or e-mail George on info@achievement-success.com

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