While I was in New York, we visited a district called Hell’s Kitchen. It’s not as bad as it sounds, it’s just what they call the main food district away from Times Square. The restaurants there are fantastic, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian, Mexican, American, Thai, Chinese, Turkish, Japanese etc. If you cant find a place to satisfy your cravings in Hell’s Kitchen then you’re being too picky!

Anyway, as we were walking through the district, we came across a place called Stecchinos. It was an Italian burger restaurant though it was distinctly American inside! The food was fantastic, you can’t really go wrong in New York for food, it’s all good. And lots of it. But as good as the food was, it was the service that stood out for us. We had a really warm welcome right at the door. We were shown to our table, given some well presented menus, ice water was immediately poured for us. We were called ‘sir’ and ‘miss’ which was nice, and given exactly the right amount of time to decide on what we were having. We weren’t left waiting to find a waiter that was interested enough to take our order. All the staff were more than polite and after only about 5-6 minutes, our main course was out in front of us! We didn’t order a starter, there was more than enough in the main course!

After finishing, plates were taken quickly and deserts were offered (and denied) and the bill (check) came quickly. It all sounds straightforward, but it’s the manner in which it was all done which was impressive. We never had to ask for anything. Water was constantly topped up, without asking. We were addressed politely with titles. We were greeted and thanked by all members of staff as we went in and as we left the place. It was the attention to detail that all the restaurants and shops as well which left us feeling far more happy than we do leaving shops and food places in this country.

It is this attention to detail and happy, cheerful attitude towards the jobs we work that would serve useful when it came to improving businesses here. I’m talking about our industry as well as business in general. Customers who are welcomed, feel at home and feel well accommodated are more likely to spend more, recommend you to others and boost the reputation of your business and increase the likelihood that they will buy from you again. A more positive demeanor, with extra added touches that your customers wouldn’t expect will leave them feeling pleasantly surprised. In our family business, personally I would like to add luxury muffins in the office for customers, fresh drinks i.e. orange, fruit juice and water as well as a tea and coffee machine. Those things have absolutely nothing to do with windows but they are little things which would hopefully make the customer feel more accommodated in our offices.

Anyway, just a thought. A little bit of American charm to our business culture might brighten things up a bit!