Posted by: joannabrandi | April 2, 2010

The Black Napkin

Last week I was having dinner with a colleague in Miami. A wonderful Italian restaurant on the inter-coastal waterway. Good food good company. In the rustic tradition the white napkins resembled kitchen towels – thirsty but – uh fuzzy. Absorbed as I was in the food and the conversation I didn’t pay much attention to my napkin, except to be sure to use it when appropriate, as mother taught me to do.

It wasn’t until I got up that I realized that my brown pantsuit was covered with lint. The good news (I’m thinking to myself) it’s the end of my day, not the middle. The bad news is I hadn’t planned on a trip to the dry cleaner – this was not a job for the masking tape roller.

This week I had dinner with my Mom at  Seasons52. As the hostess took us to our seats, she picked up two black napkins and when we were seated asked us, since we were both wearing dark clothing, if we’d prefer a black napkin.

Mom looked at me and asked why and I told her “because they really know how to take care of their customers here.”

It’s a little thing – the black napkin – but it acknowledges that the company cares about all the many details of the experience. They want to us to have a great experience at all the touch points – even the one that occurs while walking out the door.

Do you offer the choice of a black napkin? What is the equivalent in your business ? What little detail can you think of that your competitor hasn’t? Seasons 52 changes their menu 4 times a year and offers healthy entrees and a “Knowledgeable, approachable service that inspires confidence.”  I’d say so, Jordan, our server even left us with his business card.

It’s no wonder I saw them turning away two potential diners the other night at 5:45 – they were, once again, full.

Walt Disney used to say “There’s no magic to magic, it’s all in the details.”  Go ahead, sweat the small stuff!

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