It was our 29th anniversary dinner. We’d driven past this restaurant (Tabor Road Tavern in Morris Plains, NJ) many times, and finally decided to try it out.
When we walked in, we thought the place looked pretty cool – nice design, pleasing atmosphere, unobtrusive music. By the time we walked out, we were raving fans. How did that happen?
Background: both Sandy and I have worked in restaurants in the distant past. We try not to be too picky, but once you’ve waited on tables, you know what good (or bad) service is all about. It takes a lot for me to become a raving fan of any restaurant.
The waiter introduced himself, and then, to level the playing field, he asked to know our names – and also inquired if this was our first time at Tabor Road Tavern, and if there was a special occasion. He was friendly, knowledgeable about the menu offerings, and efficient, as well as glad that we had come to celebrate our anniversary.
During the course of our dinner (and the food was exceptional, by the way), we were attended to by the busboy, the back-waiter, the waiter, the hostess, and two managers – each of them bringing what was ordered or checking in to see how things were. It turned out that the hostess was a gal we knew from church, so she had a bit more history with us.
We had a wonderful meal, and ordered a dessert to share, but before it came out, this plate was brought to our table, with various treats, a candle and the words “Happy Anniversary” written in chocolate. And a handwritten, personalized card, wishing us well on our anniversary. I was dumbfounded. We weren’t regular patrons – in fact, we had walked in without a reservation.
The food was great. The wine list was top-notch. The service was exceptional. But here was the bottom line – we were made to feel very special. And that sort of restaurant experience does not happen by accident.
Will we be regular patrons now? Of course – we’ve had many meals out in our years of marriage, but I can count on one hand the ones that rank as memorably “epic.” The Tavern is not inexpensive, but for the level of service that was given, I happily paid the bill. And now happily memorialize the event with a blog post.
Other service organizations, take note – run-of-the-mill customer service gets you forgotten. Epic efforts just may get you immortalized.
Subscribe to the StickyFigure blog
Connect with Steve Woodruff