Iron is our favorite waiter. He is proud that his name and story appear in my first book, The Welcomer Edge, on page 210. I wrote about Iron because eight years ago my wife and I had dinner at City Crab & Seafood Company and Iron was our waiter. The food was not only delicious but the service excellent, coupled with an engaging conversation between all three of us. After the meal, Iron told us he wanted to be our “waiter for life.” He said how much he enjoyed meeting us and please text him the next time we wanted a reservation. He explicitly said, “I want to see you again.” Iron explained that he would enter our request into the system and the host would always seat us in his section. He gave us his cell number and the days he worked
We live in Manhattan where there are 11,000 restaurants; 300 of them are close by. Obviously many, many choices. Why have we been back to City Crab at least a hundred times in the past eight years? Why do we have intimate family parties there? Why do we always suggest this restaurant to anyone who asks us for a recommendation? The reason: we are completely loyal to Iron and Iron demonstrates his loyalty to us at every turn.
City Crab is closing this week. Their space is being taken over by Union Square Café, owned by one of the best-known restaurateurs in the world, Danny Meyer. Danny wrote a best seller, Setting the Table, a book about customer service. Mr. Meyer’s company, Union Square Hospitality Group, owns some of the top dining establishments in New York. He is the creator of Shack Shack, the burger place extraordinaire. Now that he has acquired the space that City Crab occupied, he has taken responsibility for finding suitable positions for all of City Crab’s employees at one of his other restaurants during the renovations. I commend Mr. Meyer for his sensibilities along with his fine cuisine. He is a man of his word and truly understands the concept of appreciating employees and creating a memorable customer experience. No surprise that his reputation is stellar.
So, our waiter-for-life, Iron, is gone. But hold on; he will be employed by another restaurant and as soon as Iron is settled, we will follow him, recommend him and be happy to see him whenever we can.
We loved City Crab & Seafood Company. It was a short walk from our apartment. The fish dishes were delicious and the service of course, outstanding. However, our allegiance is towards Iron, not City Crab. Unfortunately, businesses of all sizes and kinds fail to see the connection between an associate who can build lifetime loyalty and a customer. Iron created a personal relationship with us during our very first interaction. He made clear with his words and actions that he wanted to see us again. Few organizations understand the ROI of hiring the right staff, leveraging their value and extending employee appreciation so they stay forever.
What if every business had frontline staff who were capable of turning customers into lifetime patrons on the first visit? Their businesses would double in size and be twice as profitable.
What do you think? I think it makes sense!