“I want him to serve me every meal for the rest of my life…”
The words rang out across the table during a very special evening of food and wine. A small intimate group out to celebrate a birthday, at the city’s best restaurant, or so they said. But what happens when they live up to beyond the reputation?
Special occasions notwithstanding, there is a certain degree of expectation when ‘that’ spot is chosen, you know, the one that always comes up in conversation. As in “Yes, its simply fabulous” even though they've never been there. The one that most likely only has the 5:00 or 9:45 pm spot still available when you try to reserve. By virtue of this we know our experience will be worth posting, worth extolling, surely boosting our own reputation as well here….
Let’s back up for a moment. Now, what happens when it falls flat? When it doesn’t exactly ‘happen’ for you? Sure, you are fed well, the wine is excellent, but somehow you seem to have missed the ‘magic’, but the bill hasn’t. Worse, you don't really know why, and you post your smiling faces out front with the name behind you.
But what happens when it is Extraordinary? I mean, truthfully, the type of experience you don't forget, rendering your social feed secondary as you simply languish in its charm?
I mean the place, THE place, where there is no mistaking the magic, nor the beauty of a truly memorable moment. The place where they are ever humble and bow out gracefully, speaking clearly, always aware of your personal space, and, more importantly, working as a true ‘team’…. this is the Dance. They, it, or what-have-you, Flow. No one quite sees them speak to the other they just seem to know when to assist, in the little things that keep the experience in the Zone.
‘Attire’ is worn appropriately and with respect, and everyone is always well-versed in the food and wine, Ah, yes, well-versed. A big one for me. It says professionalism with a capital P. No doubt the staff have arrived in time to become aware of the night’s offerings/situations/moods/ flavours (the chef is in the house!). I may tell any of the staff of my particular preference or desire and with a simple nod as they turn, first to me then to someone else on the team, and it appears. Yes, like Magic.
This is where the Craft lies, where being The Best You Can Be is and Owning what you do. As is my way, I do not drink all of the gorgeous bottle of wine I choose, but offer it to the kitchen, to the chef, through my lovely service staff who don't question. Of course, being professional, they do wait until I am finished for the evening. It wasn’t just any birthday, this was my birthday. A night with my two darling kids after being tied up for four days on an exhilarating yet exhausting conference. We are hungry and in need of a great experience and memorable food. We laugh and eat and drink and laugh some more. All the while our waiter is just over there, attentive in the way that only comes from, yes, complete training and strategizing on making this a perfect moment. You know, dear reader, what that means to me. It’s there, in Be Ready To Dance With Your Customer, and this? This IS The Dance.
Yes, Toronto, you do have it, and it comes in the form of Rob Gentile at Buca and his more than perfectly humble, gracious, knowledgeable, dancing, staff. They have set the bar. It was my daughter’s words that night that became the title of this story.
It would be remiss not to point out that there are many (too many) that just don't get that. Those that don't go the extra mile to hone their Craft, to create Magic, to ‘serve’ in their best way possible, to be Genius. There are also the ones that spend more time/energy/money creating the illusion of a great reputation (talk really is cheap people). But, if you do desire to be Genius, why aren't you? Why do you substitute mediocrity for the work required to become Extraordinary? Of course, then there are the ones where the server actually believes they are the special one in the equation (but that’s a story for another day)….Figure It Out. Be Ready. Dance.