Dan Naden

What are you doing to surprise your customers?

We are rarely surprised anymore.

  • In our youth, we leapt for joy when opening that surprise sky blue bicycle for our birthday.
  • We opened our report card in hopes that the letters B or (Even better) A would appear.

In adulthood, life can have a serious predictability, but it doesn’t need to be this way.

New bike for a lucky kid
A two-wheeled birthday surprise gives you a smile.

Let’s bring surprises back.

A few months ago, my wife and I planned on outing to nearby Georgetown, Texas. We Googled a few restaurants in the area, but we were drawn to one for its unique ‘spin’:  Plus Four Dining.

I called the restaurant to make a reservation and was told that they will not be serving off the regular menu that night because of a holiday celebration in Georgetown. They thought it best to go ‘quick and easy’ and ‘off script’ because of the heavy crowds that were expected. The hostess sensed my frustration and said, “Hold on, let me have you talk to the chef.”

“Hi, this is Eric; how can I help you?”

I proceeded to tell Eric that my wife and I were thrilled to sample the unique concept of Plus Four Dining. (The concept was to order an entrée, yet be presented a ‘chef’s pick’ for your appetizer, bread, salad, and dessert.) Order one item. Get four surprises. Brilliant.

We continued to chat for 10 more minutes and I offered him encouragement to push what makes him unique. Passion will win the day.

The evening of dining at Plus Four was a delight. I quickly selected the pork tenderloin for my entrée; my wife arrived at the salmon. We then settled in, sipped a drink and awaited our surprises.

Eric, the chef, drifted by our table and welcomed us to his restaurant. He thanked me for the honest feedback and straightforward conversation. I told him that we craved surprises. If we wanted predictability, we’d sample Cheddar’s or Applebee’s — same menu, same cuisine from here to Tacoma.

Plus Four Dining in Georgetown, Texas
Fine dining and atmosphere in cozy Georgetown, Texas.

The first course set the stage for a series of dazzling dishes. The appetizer was a spinach stuffing ball drizzled with a delectable salsa. We devoured it as if it were our last meal.

The fresh bread was accompanied by a series of homemade butters made of garlic, olive, and honey. I was tempted to lick the plate.

The salad was a perfect introduction to the main entrée. The leafy, shiny, bright green lettuce came alive with a light lime vinaigrette dressing.

My wife and I remarked we already had great food, and the entrees were still to come.

The salmon and pork tenderloin were equally compelling; both were flavorful and paired with sterling side dishes. Most notable were the brussel sprouts; a triumphant partner to the generous portion of pork.

A petite-sized apple cobbler finished the night off with a bang. This wasn’t gorging food as a means to an end; this was a celebration of the scents, textures, and flavors of finely-prepared food paired with a relaxing atmosphere.

Cheers to Eric and entire staff for delivering a personal, memorable, and shareable experience. We will be back to Plus Four Dining.

Here are the takeaways for you, the business owner or customer lead:

1.       If things get predictable, you won’t be remembered. We will always remember the surprises that arrived on our table on that chilly December evening. Are your customers remembering you?

2.       Find a way to make a personal connection with your customers. Eric showed that he cared by visiting our table and expressed his heartfelt appreciation for our feedback. One customer will open the door to your next customer. Treat each one special.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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