Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vacation Notes

I'm back home after 5 GREAT days in Naples, Florida. For those who have never been; let's just say that Naples is a playground for the Very Wealthy. However, after some scouring the NET and multiple visits to Priceline.com and CheapOAir.com I found some deals that enabled me to blend into the landscape.

I could go on but I'll give the bullet version of our trip with some things to think about.

1) We were booked on the 3-5th floor (part of 'deal') however upon arrival we mentioned it was our Anniversary and that come back "Every Year to Celebrate". Result: They upgraded us to the 17th floor w/ Amazing views of the Gulf.

- the service is always good at the Naples Grand Hotel but this year they really stepped up their "Good Morning and Hello Routine" each day they made everyone feel like it was their Anniversary - Birthday - Etc.

2) We went to one of our favorite restaurants one night and were promptly seated. We then sat there for 15 minutes without someone as much as acknowledging we were there. No Menu - No Glass of Water - No Waiter saying "I'll be right with you." So we got up and simply walked away...

- A bad night can happen, but poor service is a KILLER to a Service Business..

3) We walked to another place "Verginas" and were seated promptly with menus and a wine list. We enjoyed our Vino while viewing the menu; we had a GREAT experience and meal and the service was Top Notch.

- We will be back and I will recommend.

4) We witnessed a Couple on another night give all kinds of Grief, Complaints and Annoyance to our Waiter and the Hostess. It really appeared that they went out of their way to be difficult. Normally, I just talk about such people privately but I felt the need to interject.

I asked our waiter to have the hostess come to our table (He looked slightly concerned based on the issues he was having with our neighboring table.) I introduced myself and Francesca to the hostess and 'careful' to ensure our neighbor HEARD us I informed the Hostess and Waiter that everything we ordered was spectacular (it was), she replied with thanks and apologized if anything wasn't satisfactory as "One of the waiters called out at the last minute and the others we covering more tables than usual." I smiled and said "The success of any restaurant (or business) is how well you manage problems and in our professional opinion you all did spectacular." She then asked "What do you do?" To which I replied "My wife and I work for FOOD NETWORK." The hostess smiled right at me and said "You have just made my night."

- Did I FIB? "Sure" but the smile on her face was worth it. Plus, the silence from the next table over was even better!

5) On our last night we finished dinner and went to another spot for another glass of wine and some dessert. We talked about how great the trip has been and how everything and everyone made us feel so great. It's as if the community of Naples got together and said "times are tough, people are stressed and they need a break, let's WOW them every chance we can." With that, an older couple sits next to us at the bar and asks for the exact wine and dessert that Francesca and I were enjoying. We chuckled as if "that could be us in 30 years!" (Actually, that could be me now!!) Anyway, without them knowing, I instructed the bartender to charge us for their bill. We finished before them, wished them a nice evening and excused ourselves.

- Paying back or Paying forward is all the same thing. "Making people feel like a Million Bucks isn't just good for business, it's good for us all."

Ok, it was longer than I thought. But GREAT/Poor examples of Service - Commitment - Professionalism & Love were all on display. They always are.

Can you spot 'em?

Frank Pucher

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