What distinguishes a restaurant from a fast-food outlet? Apart from the fact that it’s hard to make a living as a restaurant these days? When I was a kid our family went to a very good Chinese place called The Cheong On. Every time we went, the owner, Mr Ho, would visit our table during the evening [once only] to exchange small talk. When he left our table we would all volunteer the bits we understood to see if we could work out what he had said.
Many restaurant owners have forgotten the importance of relationship. It’s not just about food and location, it’s about service, relationship and personality. That is the advantage restaurants should have over fast food chains.
Often, but not always, the person who takes your money asks you if you enjoyed your meal. Usually the answer is “yes”. It’s the perfect moment to create a relationship. If I don’t have a relationship, I may as well try a new place next time! Anyway, so when I’m paying and I have answered “yes”, I always wait for them to ask me the question that never comes. “Will you come back soon?” I’m a polite person, I’m probably going to say “yes” again. And in doing so I have created some small obligation on myself to return to that restaurant.
Why has no-one ever asked me that question? Do I not tip enough?