While most of the re-launch of this blog is going to be focused on product development and issues surrounding that, I had a powerful experience yesterday that demanded I write about service innovation for a moment.
A little background- while I was the Director of Business Development for Logicube I traveled to Las Vegas well over a dozen times for work. Between CES and all the other shows there, it’s just a convenient place to do business. That said, as someone who’s been to Vegas a LOT it gets old, and the first thing I do when a city starts to be anything other than a quick visit is to seek out a restaurant and bar that I can make my own.
Being a scotch drinker I quickly found a favorite bar at STRIPSTEAK in Mandalay Bay. Stripsteak is your typical modern steakhouse- beautiful steaks, great appetizers, an innovative cocktail list, nice wine list, etc. However, there are really 2 reasons I like it: the service (it’s Vegas and yet they still manage to remember who I am even if I haven’t been there for a month or so, and the scotch (they’ve got over 100 well curated scotches).
I want to recount my experience there this past Sunday as an example of service iteration on the fly. When we typically think of service iteration we talk about long planning and changes that impact brand or process- how we set tables, when we approach guests, etc. (in the restaurant context). What I experienced here was quick, iterative thinking by an extremely well trained staff.
When we arrived at Stripsteak we were seated and they did all the usual restaurant thing of offering water, cocktails, etc. We had a nice chat with the waiter, but then he did the most curious thing- he set an iPad down on the table. It’s their new scotch and wine book. We talked about it for a second, I found what I wanted and when he came back I mentioned some of my favorite memories from Stripsteak were being in Vegas alone and just sitting at the bar and flipping through their printed “scotch bible.” We ordered our drinks and he left, and I didn’t think much more of it.
While we were enjoying our drinks and our appetizers came, along came the restaurant manager. She gave me a copy of the printed “scotch bible” to take with me as a momento. It was such a tiny gesture, but this moment is a defining moment for not only Stripsteak but any service based organization, and this is the point of this entire blog post.
A waiter and manager who are well enough trained and quick on their feet realized that a regular customer misses something about the way their restaurant used to be gave the customer a permanent piece of the restaurant to carry with him. They just solidified the brand of incredible service in the customer’s mind. This is quick thinking, iterative action in service that every service focused organization should be striving for.
It’s not about one waiter and one manager being quick on their feet, it’s about instilling a pervasive mindset across an organization that allows the waiter and the manager to do such things, to make a seemingly normal dinner memorable for life.
Thank you Stripsteak for taking an ordinary meal and turning it into a memory for me.