Saturday, March 22, 2008

Implying Expectations

Thursday night Lisa and I went out for dinner to celebrate our fourth anniversary - a big step for new parents! Our friends, Kim and Tim Householder (the Ims) were kind enough to come over to babysit our little bundle of joy. Thank you Ims!!

Anyway, Lisa and I decided to go out to Gratzi, one of our favorite restaurants in downtown Ann Arbor. Yummy Italian food, and willing to accommodate a vegetarian like me. As always, they did a pretty darn good job. The food was delicious and the service unobtrusive (though, admittedly, just a hint slower than I would have liked). There was just one little tiny thing, which felt like a failure. Nothing big, but it would have made the difference between a good evening and a great evening for me.

This is what happened. Knowing that it was a popular restaurant, I was the good husband and called their reservation line to make sure that we had a table that evening. No problem there. They were able to fit us in at the day and time we wanted. Then the operator on the other end asked if this was for a special occasion. Quite pleased, I told her that it was, indeed, our anniversary.

Despite me giving her this information, though, Gratzi's staff didn't do anything out of the ordinary beyond just serving dinner. I didn't need a free dessert or anything. Heck, if the manager had just come over and wished us a happy anniversary, I would have been thrilled.

But we got nothing.

Now, I know the reason they ask is that Main Street Ventures (the parent company for Gratzi and several other downtown Ann Arbor eateries) gives you a free meal on your birthday (just remember to bring your driver's license). As far as I knew, they didn't do anything for any other events. The problem was, the operator asking that question. It put the anticipation of something special in my head. When nothing happened, it left me feeling a bit disappointed.

Since their reservation listings are undoubtedly generated from a computerized system, how difficult would it have been to make a small notation on our listing so the staff would know why we were there and to make our visit more than just a trip out to the restaurant?

More and more, all establishments, from restaurants, to hair salons, to web development companies, have to do everything they can to be remarkable. Making such a small change in an existing system would do an awful lot to make us even more loyal customers and to do what every establishment wants us to do:

Talk about them.

So what do you do to make yourself remarkable?

1 comment:

the_ims said...

It was our pleasure - Kaylie was an angel!

As for what I do to make myself remarkable...

In my personal life, I make handmade gifts for my friends and family. With any quilt or nap blanket I make for someone, I try to make it *for* that particular person rather than just any fabric or pattern. I feel that put more meaning in the quilt or blanket while I'm making it - and hopefully that meaning is felt by the owner.