YONKERS, N.Y. -- Has our understanding of hospitality changed?
I’ve been thinking a lot about hospitality lately and wondering if I'm delivering what guests have a right to expect when they visit one on my establishments.
As a restaurant group, we spend a significant amount of time discussing the importance of gracious hospitality when serving a diner.
I have spent the past 30-plus years trying to define for my staff what it means to be hospitable. I have always looked at hospitality to mean that a guest comes away with the feeling of time well spent and that we truly care that they enjoyed their visit.
Over the past several years, however, I've noticed that many diners don’t require the sort of treatment I always thought was necessary to the enjoyment of visiting a certain level of restaurant.
A candle on the table, perhaps a flower, a cloth napkin were all part of hospitality as is a glass appropriate to the level of wine being served, a waiter that's neatly dressed and trained, and a kitchen that is accommodating. Of course, a management that anticipates every need rather than just being reactive to those needs are all part of the hospitality quotient.
Because a visit to a restaurant should be so much more than just eating a meal, hospitality is what separates merely good restaurants from great restaurants.
Which is why I believe that if you don’t “feel the love,” don’t just “love the one you’re with.” Find the restaurant that makes you “feel special." You deserve it.
This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
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