I’m a foodie but not a food snob. I’ll put a 9-course tasting menu that I probably wouldn’t even be able to finish from a Michelin Star restaurant up against my mom’s chicken divan casserole any day of the week.
There’s a restaurant in New York City, Eleven Madison Park, that’s widely recognized as the best restaurant in the world, where they plate your food with tweezers and have a whopping 4 Michelin Stars.
Will Guidara is the front-of-house partner at 11 Madison Park and is so chill, so calm and so attentive…he’s like the paraffin wax of restaurateurs. If ever I’m on the ledge, he’d be someone I’d definitely call to talk me down.
In a TedTalk, he tells an amazing story about overhearing a conversation about hot dogs. I could paraphrase here, but he does a much better job in this video.
Go watch this 90-second snippet from his TedTalk and come back for a breakdown:
Welcome back! Wasn’t that awesome?
As a marketer who guides my clients to deliver a memorable experience to power customer loyalty, delight is one of my favorite ingredients. These were the things that Will did to delight his customers that made my marketing ears perk up:
He was bussing tables.
Will Guidara was clearing appetizer plates. He saw something that needed to be done to make his guests feel seen and taken care of. And then he did it. Even though he’s one of the owners.
He was present.
If there’s one guy who’s present in this world, it’s Will Guidara. And he overheard these foodies lamenting over not having a New York City hot dog (as a Chicago gal, I take issue with that, but while in Rome I guess).
He took immediate action.
He calmly left the restaurant and found the closest hot dog vendor…and then I’m sure raced back and beautifully plated them before serving them himself.
He focused on the feels.
Yes, a hot dog in a Michelin star restaurant is sacrilegious - but not when it makes people feel this joyous.
“One size fits one.”
OMG just this alone.
He could’ve comped them a free bucket of caviar and it wouldn’t compare.
Because he knows that delight trumps all, even if it’s a $2 hot dog.
So, think about when people buy from you - what happens after? How can you create a moment of delight that makes your customers say, “Hot dog! I’m glad I chose you.” (Sorry I just had to.)
Because it’s those moments of sheer delight when people feel seen is when things really get fun in your biz…and rewarding.
Rooting for you!
P.S. If you want my mom’s chicken divan recipe, just reply to this message…I’m happy to share it.