NU Husker's list of things to remember in customer service, which was posted recently reminded me of the list of rules printed on the Menu at a Northern CA chain of restaurants called Max's Opera Cafe: The legendary Max (whom I have never met) was miffed when he got a mediocre review from a restaurant critic and posted a large sign in Red at the entrance that said "critics not welcome!" Max's rules speak to customer service and to the little things that make a meal a pleasure.
As an aside, I was at the Palo Alto (Stanford Center) one night when one of the giants of Silicon Valley (seated next to us) fixed the sound system with two spoons, then refused a free meal from the manager!
Here are the "rules:"
This restaurant is run for the enjoyment and pleasure of our customers, not the convenience of the staff or the owners.
You get a free round of drinks if anyone on our staff comes up and says, "is everything all right?" When we ask questions, they'll be good ones.
You MUST get your mustard and ketchup before your burger, sandwich or fries. We hate soggy fries. If yours aren't crisp, the way you like them-send them back--maybe the kitchen will get the message.
Corned beef and pastrami are good because they contain some fat; however, with today's dietary consciousness, our corned beef and pastrami are now extra lean. So ask for a little fat for that traditional taste. If you want something with no fat, how about our turkey or turkey pastrami?
The turkey is always fresh. Period.
Our iced tea is table brewed. Just pour it over a big glass of ice.
You'll love our breads and pastries. They are made fresh daily in Max's Bakery and Kitchen. Warning: We bake our own sourdough crusty as can be. If you like soft bread, eat the middle.
Our ice cream sauces are a point of pride. They're made in New York by a certified chocoholic who refuses therapy. They are simply the best in the country. And we don't boast idly.
We bring ice cream sauces from New York City. Eat here. Save the airfare.
This is a bad place for a diet and a good place for a diet.
Our desserts are excessive because nothing succeeds like excess. We encourage sharing if you're not super hungry.
Substitutions are okay by us; don't be bashful, you've got a mouth, use it. We use cholesterol-free oil for frying and sautéing; anything can be grilled fat-free.
If you are a single diner and are greeted with the expression, "just one?", dinner is on us.
We agree that the customer is always right. If there is a problem with your food or service, call for the manager--we'll fix it in a flash. But, if you finish your plate--it couldn't have been all that bad! Now, could it?
Outstanding! And Max's rules obviously work...his website lists 11 locations in the Bay Area, with some amazing dishes and great prices. I recall when the Renaissance opened in the historic Savory Hotel in Des Moines a few years ago, all staff were wearing WIT pins. Of course I asked...it was Whatever It Takes. Another innovative way to meet the guests' needs.
Max's is the kind of place where you have fun, listen to varying talents singing (the waitstaff are the performers), and eat too much good food! There is a famine coming (or at least they seem to think there is) based on the portions.
But it is the service first attitude that brings us back, as it does at all great spots for dining, no matter what the price.