By now, all FOPs know--ad nauseum, I might add--that the secret of Surprise is not doing it once, but doing it on a continual basis. Many the blog post has been written here exalting that dictum...which brings us back to Kelly Liken's restaurant in Vail (yes, one final Vail post, folks).
About a year ago, I ranted and raved over the effect of the lil' bag of goodies she doles out after each meal (little things mean a lot...another oft-repeated theme at Surprise Central, like here, here and here), which is why I chose her place over countless other tony spots in that high-falutent town to celebrate my wife's birthday with our family a couple of weeks ago.
But in addition to once again wanting to sample Kelly's adventurous cuisine, I wanted to see if she could once again pull off some Pow! now that I've "been there, done that" with the goody-bag.
Well to her credit, she pulled it off. Magnificently and modestly. Check out what we saw when we opened the night's menu:
Now I didn't ask for this. All I did was mention that we'd be celebrating a birthday. It was the fast thinking of Kelly and/or someone on her staff (it was so subtle I don't remember) who asked for my wife's name, and re-printed four menu sheets.
Think about this for a second. Probably cost less than five bucks. Yet the warm vibes it brought was the reason we opted for the more expensive bottle of wine (WAY more) and the extra dessert; an admirable return on investment, I must say.
But frankly, that pales to the payback of us talking about the gesture throughout our stay...amnd way past it, as you see.
How many times do you volunteer that type of innocuously-personal information--or ANY type of usable information--when making a restaurant reservation?
And what usually happens to it? In one ear, and out the other.
Yet by listening, and with some simple, inexpensive action, restaurants everywhere can Surprise their their patrons and make them feel more like family than like "customers." And reap the ensuing benefits.
Well done, Kelly. But you know what we're all thinking right about now, dontcha?
What are you gonna do NEXT year?