Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recipe for a fantastic restaurant

Recently I visited a very nice restaurant. It was full, but still had the nice, calm and relax atmosphere; very friendly and helpful staff. It was a great experience. The first thought was: great job, I would like to talk with the manager of the place….

When I told abut the place to my friend (real estate specialist), the automatic question was: How did you get to this place, it is a “dead point” in Zlote Tarasy, and you say that it was full?
At that point I could not find a specific explanation, but after talking with the owner of the place it became obvious.(here is the full version of the interview)
Here are 9 lessons from Halina Obrycka:
1.      Adjust your offer to your client. Even if something works perfectly and is very popular abroad, it is not a guarantee for success in the local market.
I always try to prepare the dishes, which I know polish people will accept
“But here I have to take care about Polish guests, who behave totally different”
“When we opened the restaurant the idea was to keep all the food in the bar area, but Polish people are not used to it… so now I will introduce it step by step”
2.      Offer something attractive for every group of clients
       “We have a business area around us and every day I change the lunch menu”
       “And what is really fantastic for me, sometime we have Spanish people coming here, only for    visiting Poland, and they come the whole week to our restaurant”
       “But also we have lots of people from the railway station, waiting for their trip… Of course these are not regular clients, but for them the idea of Spanish food is very good, as we can offer it in a short time”
3.      Instead of worrying about competition do your best
“It is not that I do not care about what are they doing, but I do my job. My way of doing is to do my best to keep this place on the nice level”

4.      Always experiment, bring something new
“We always try to implement new ideas to make the place more attractive…Yesterday we started    with another new idea, offered Spanish sport channel… Yesterday was really fantastic! It was very nice, but I don’t want to make a sport restaurant, I just want to introduce some variation. “
5.      Keep in touch with the clients
“I have huge base of e-mail addresses, so every time something is organized we let people know”
“I try to connect with clients every week”

6.      Form a qualified team
Waiters: “Everybody who comes and starts must have some training. We work with new people very hard. We show how we want them to work”
   “In my opinion the most important thing is the service, and waiters must assure it. Clients should feel good here and be happy as they spend nice time”
            Managers: “They are responsible for the whole stuff necessary for managing the restaurant.”  
                  “Yes, I trust them and I am quite happy”
         Chefs: “I also have very nice staff in the kitchen, I like them very much, and I know that they   are responsible.”
                 I already know from Spanish people that we have really good Spanish food, so I am happy with it.”
7.      Respect your team and be on the field with them
       “This is the most important for me: I respect them; I have nice relation with them”
       “If there is lots of work and the restaurant is crowded I work together with them at the same level”
8.      There is always place for improvement
“I never rest! I see that everything is fine but I must do more, and I always think about improving the place, about finding new ideas.”
9.      Focus on quality rather than quantity
“I want only one- I am sure! In my opinion you can not manage 2 or 3 places at the same level. …I prefer to have one place but good and nice”
And here comes the result of all efforts:
“You know, I have some people who come from the very beginning, I have some couples that come every Saturday-this is nice! So I do not need to ask them whether they like it. I just always take care about the guests; I try to remember their preferences.”
“I know because they told me that for them it is very important that they feel comfortable here. They know that we take care, and they come for favorite dishes”.