There has been a recent epidemic of blog postings that have been critical of the lack of customer service that a few wineries have provided, including two recent ones from me (here and here). With the ever-expanding blog posts about everything from what people had for breakfast to the wine they drank before going to bed, the internet is a haven for people to write about their daily experiences. It is also a fact that people talk more about their bad experiences than their good ones. Online and during their everyday lives.
I was told by one of my male friends that my posts as of late have been a bit pessimistic and that I should write about something pleasurable and not just promotions or brands that upset me. Though I don’t believe him, especially looking at the overwhelming exceptional customer service I received (and wrote about) from my favorite wineries over the past two Barrel Tasting weekends, I figured I would take a look at some places I have been to recently that I think have the right idea. Two Sonoma County restaurants instantly came to mind.
Jack and Tony’s Whisky Bar- They opened up in Railroad Square in downtown Santa Rosa last month, but local Sonoma County chef, Jack Mitchell (of Sassafrass) knows that a good restaurant is nothing without a great staff who is dedicated to providing a memorable experience. They literally rolled out the red carpet for their customers this past Wednesday. It was their Grand Opening celebration and no matter how cheesy it sounds, the party was in fact Grand.
A limo drove guests from the Santa Rosa Hyatt and dropped them off at the front door. Here guests were greeted by a red carpet and a smiling Jack saying “thank you” for coming. For part of the day, a paparazzi style photographer snapped candid photos, the mayor showed up for a ribbon cutting ceremony and they gave away free appetizers. The drinks were delicious and the garlic parmesan fries were cooked perfectly.
Jack personally went from table to table to greet each of his guests and to chat for a bit. It will be interesting to see if they can keep up this level of great customer service, but as Jack told me “He had the best restaurant staff to choose from in Sonoma County,” so look for people who know what they are doing.
Bovolo Restaurant- One several different wine tasting occasions, myself and a group of wild women have entered into Bovolo (behind Copperfield’s on the Healdsburg Square) to dine on their infamous mac and cheese and carbonara dishes. Other than my friends being obsessed with the handmade bacon, we go there because they offer free corkage for locals and I have a bit of a crush on one of the staff members at the cash register. I like that you order off the menu at the cash register and you go to sit down, it brings a more informal vibe to the place.
We tend to get a bit rowdy, so instead of yelling (which has happened at various restaurants or hotels), the staff will come in the back and simply ask us to keep it down. I understand that sometimes we need to be reminded to use our inside voices, but asking us nicely goes much further than coming back and acting like we are ruining your life.
(Bovolo picture taken from Google Images)
Both of these restaurants have proven to me on more than a few occasions that it is the simple things that create an experience worth coming back for.