On a Sunday I always used to like reading Michael Winner in The Sunday Times (the love him or hate him friend of hospitality). Although he was controversial and was also unnecessarily scathing to a good friend of mine (and her catering business) he sometimes he did make some valid points.

Yesterday I went to the Oblix at the Shard. It was a business lunch and as this particular client always likes to try somewhere new where we haven’t been before, I am always more attuned to the experience. It bought to mind Michael and one of his most vocal points that the industry still doesn’t seem to get, the touch point when customers interact face to face. The all-important greeting at the door!

Why oh why do they greet you with the ‘Reservation’ statement first. I think the problem is that the attitude they portray is that they assume you don’t have one rather than yes you do. It’s the welcome that comes first. Asking your name will alert them to the fact you have a reservation otherwise why would I be there? Also if I didn’t have one I would no doubt ask fairly quickly do you have a table?

I am banishing the ‘Reservation’ greeting when I am prime minister along with pointless demi tasse cups after functions (no one ever used those cups for any other time than after a meal). Although as Ian Mitchell, my business partner was quick to point out as ‘list queen’ I would no doubt place many more demands on the unsuspecting public!

So snap to it restaurant owners and trainers and banish that ‘Reservation?’ question. Have a competition, as I am sure they do on planes when you enter, to see how many different and entertaining ways you can convey an enthusiastic greeting to show customers they are important to you.

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My earliest food memories are of my mum’s baking; coconut pyramid cakes were my favourite.

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