In The Go-Giver, Ernesto Iafrate’s Italian-American Cafe was the example of an extremely successful restaurant, where the delicious cuisine was exceeded only by the ultimate dining experience.
In Go-Givers Sell More, within our discussion on the five aspects of Value — excellence, consistency, attention, empathy, and appreciation — John related the example of a restaurant where he and his lovely wife, Ana, used to go that had pretty good food … sometimes. And, sometimes it did not. The lack of consistency was unsettling enough that they instead now travel twice as far down the road to eat at a similar restaurant that is in fact consistently good.
Earlier today I was reading a new book by my friend, Les McKeon entitled Predictable Success. He made the following point about companies that are in the mode of business suggested by the book’s title:
“Watching the interaction of the different functional groups of [these sorts of organizations] is rather like watching a highly trained relay team hand the baton from one runner to the next: They can do it seamlessly, over and over again, at high speed, and without looking back.”
And, this reminded me — literally, as you’ll see in a moment — of my favorite restaurant where I live in Jupiter, Florida: Sala Thai.
Sala Thai is owned by a sweet and hard-working immigrant family from Thailand who personify the type of value Ernesto talked about in the story. Let’s look at it by way of the five areas or aspects of value mentioned earlier (excellence, consistency, attention, empathy, and appreciation), starting with excellence.
There is just no substitute for excellence, is there? Sala Thai has truly excellent food, and an amazing staff that simply does it right. They serve superbly well, not only as individuals but also as part of a cohesive unit.
Reading Les’s statement brought back a memory from about a month ago, when I was at Sala Thai and they were slammed with customers. They were moving swiftly, but also smoothly — their energy was both fluid and calm.
At one point, Um’s cellphone (the main phone customers were calling for pickups and deliveries) went off while she was in the midst of serving. At the sound of the ring, one of the waiters suddenly and gracefully switched direction, as though part of a ritual rehearsed endlessly to perfection, putting another guest’s plate down and taking the cell-phone handoff as he headed to the main register to take the order. And Um was amazing: she discreetly slipped the phone out of her back pocket and gently handed it to him in a way that would have made an Olympic relay team or even the Flying Wallendas proud.
This is exactly what Les is talking about when he describes an excellent team as being like a relay team handing off the baton — only in this case it wasn’t a metaphor: they really were handing off the baton!
In Part 2, we’ll look at the other four aspects of value embodied by this very successful restaurant.
Until then, I’m off to enjoy an order of “Bob Sizzlin’” (yes, they know what I like and they’ve even named the plate for me when I visit) and some Chicken Padthai.