Monday, 01 June 2009 15:07
‘A young couple came into the restaurant the other night and told me they were celebrating their first wedding anniversary. I felt that I should be doing something to make their evening that little bit more special, but I'm not quite sure what. Can you advise me on what I should do under such circumstances?'
One of the first things to remember is that you should always treat everyone extra special anyway, but if you're dealing with a special occasion like an anniversary or a birthday, I let all the waiters know about it so that I can be sure the customers get VIP treatment.
When people are celebrating, I tend to find they're more relaxed, and more inclined to let me help them steer a path through both the menu and the wine list - and I'd make sure all the matches were fantastic. I'll also go back to the table a bit more often than I usually would, suggest wines to match every dish and probably give them a more generous pour. All that extra warmth helps to make them feel special.
I'd definitely comp them something. Perhaps if I had matched the first course with Champagne, it would be on the house - or I might offer them a glass of dessert wine for free. Or, if the main course went really well with a bottle of something special, I might pour them a glass each then sell the rest of the bottle by the glass.
Not only does making a fuss of people like this help to create a real sense of occasion for them, it's also good PR for the restaurant. If people are going out for dinner to celebrate a birthday or anniversary, the chances are their friends are going to ask them about their evening - it's a talking point. So if your customers come away from your restaurant feeling that they've had a really good evening, the word of mouth will be really good - and that will result in more customers coming through the door.
@Kelvin McCabe, head sommelier, Roka@