The other day I was listening to a New York restauranteur telling the story behind his book ‘Unreasonable hospitality’.
People in the restaurant business was coming up with the most extravagant and out of this world menu choices that he felt he couldn’t compete with, instead he made a conscious decision to focus on the one thing that never changes in their line of business: hospitality. Together with his team they started to work towards one goal: Unreasonable hospitality -giving people more than they expect. Service, he says, is black & white, hospitality is colours!
I love the story of how he managed to convince the chef in their 4 star restaurant to serve what the New Yorkers call a dirty water hotdog. He had overheard 4 guys he was serving saying the only thing they hadn’t had time for on their once in a lifetime vacation, was having one of those hotdogs from a cart on a street corner. He ran to the nearest stand and purchased one of these hotdogs that the chef cut in to 4 perfect pieces, plated them up by adding some relishes and some magic ketchup and mustard swirls fitting a 4 star restaurant. They served it to the boys before their main meal saying: ‘we didn’t want you to leave New York with any culinary regrets’.
Unreasonable hospitality is looking to make ordinary transactions into extraordinary experiences. It’s about making people feel seen, welcome and have a sense of belonging -it’s about serving memories!
All this is advocating one major thing that we can all adapt, no matter who we are and what we are doing; it’s about being present! It’s about doing our jobs, life and relationship in colour and not just black & white. I don’t love the idea of a dirty water hotdog, but I do love the idea that by being present and by listening I am more likely not to miss an opportunity to add a splash of colour, and let another human being feel seen!