Hint at exceptional service

I had dinner the other night with a business associate/friend.  We were seated and the hostess turned to my friend and asked, "would you prefer a black napkin?’

Being a dumb boy, I was surprised and a little confused when my friend said that yes, she would prefer a black napkin.  The hostess must have noticed my puzzled expression.  She nodded at my friend and said, "she’s wearing a dark dress.  A white linen napkin might leave a bit of lint on her dress."

Picture_11 Wow.  We were in for an exceptional dinner.

Any restaurant that would pay attention and make accommodations for that level of detail was going to go out of their way to deliver a remarkable experience.

And they did.  If there’s a Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in your area — get there.  And ask for a black napkin.

More important — what’s your black napkin?

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13 comments on “Hint at exceptional service

  1. Art Dinkin says:

    Great place. I was shocked the first time they wanted my phone number, until I learned that they were building a profile on me. They do not initiate contact, but they do remember my seating preference what I like to order and such. It is a bit pricey, but a wonderful place for special occasions.

  2. Drew,

    That’s it! Those are the kind of places that get people (bloggers) talking about them for the right reasons! I haven’t been there in a while but now I want to go back. We all desire to be treated very well. Great example…it’s the little things!


  3. Matt says:

    This is what I was talking about in my post on building buzz. When you intentionally bake something right into your business that is intentionally designed to get people talking about you- you instantly move yourself to the head of the pack. Impressive.


  4. This is a great example of how word-of-mouth advertising can work really well. In a time when we’re so conditioned to expect poor service, it’s almost shocking to get great service. It gets people talking and drives positive word-of-mouth advertising. I love it!

  5. jimdwalton says:

    What a difference the little things make. I learned that years ago selling medical equipment. the more value you learn about as a service provider, that more value you bring. I wonder if the black napkin thing is a benifit from diversity. I doubt if one of us men would have come up with that one.

  6. Irene,

    I think your point is well taken. Often times it is the smallest detail that creates the biggest reaction.


  7. Art,

    Without a doubt — it is not a once a week hangout. Unless you have much deeper pockets than I do!

    But it’s the perfect place if you want to create a lasting memory. We’re taking my dad there for Father’s Day tomorrow and I know it will feel like we did something special.


  8. Lewis.

    I agree with you. I was completely taken aback at first. And then, the simplicity of it just really struck me. Someone had their thinking caps on.

    It also seems interesting to me that no one else has picked up on it. Or maybe I just don’t eat at fancy enough places.


  9. Cory,

    It’s a good reminder that we have excellent branding tutorials right in our back yard!

    Sort of like Mark’s article about Cold Stone Creamry. Good stuff all around us!


  10. Matt,

    You are exactly right. For those of you who haven’t discovered Matt’s excellent blog…here’s the post he is referring to.



  11. Susan,

    You are so right. We expect bad or mediocre service. No only do we expect it, we accept it.

    That’s the window of opportunity for all of us. Exceptional service is so unexpected that when it happens — we can’t help but notice AND talk about it!


  12. John,

    Yes…there is an added value to the customer not having to ask for what they want. It makes them feel like you anticipated their need — and who wouldn’t feel special if that happened?


  13. Jim,

    You are so right — I cannot imagine that a man thought of that either. It’s the kind of loving gesture that a woman would pride herself in thinking of — and rightly so. It was brilliant.


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