I was taken aback this morning by the team at Caffe Cucina at London’s Euston Station.
In a city where even the service at high-end establishments is questionable, and the ‘manufactured’ approach at chain brands is simply accepted by the minions, I certainly wasn’t expecting a newcomer like Cucina to impress me so much.
To be greeted by three staff with a hearty and genuine ‘Good Morning’ was bliss. The smiles helped too. The girl at the counter actually looked me in the eye. Amazing!
It reminded me of the Japanese who will show their respect by lifting their heads and announcing ‘Irrashaemasen’ or ‘welcome’ on every occasion when a customer enters the front doors. EVERY staff member – even in the kitchen will acknowledge EVERY guest. Perhaps the clever folk behind Cucina have experienced this themselves and realise how important it makes a customer feel. Especially when we need it most – on route to another day in the office.
Best part about it is that this kind of marketing (yes, it most certainly is) will cost a company, erm, naught, but will likely return more customers than anything printed, posted or paid for.
But what I couldn’t understand was why queues of suits trailed out from the neighbouring vendors. Why do people queue for the black water served at some of these trashy chain coffee shops? No one was venturing to the queue-less and well presented Cucina, so I opted for speed. I certainly didn’t expect to buy a full breakfast and sit in the cafe typing this blog entry. What started as a £2 coffee, ended in an £8 breakfast, all because of the friendliness.
I’m not going to praise them for the food quality but at least my bacon-sausage-scramble butty wasn’t wrapped in layers of plastic. It arrived on a plate and with a toothy smile. Now all that’s left is for them to get Soy milk and improve the coffee bean selection. But maybe that’s just me.
All in good time I expect.
We’re creatures of habit and happy with routine but it is possible for good service to break that routine, like mine was on this particular morning? Provided the focus remains on what the hospitality industry is build on – being HOSPITABLE – the answer is a super-sized ABSOLUTELY.
If Cucina wishes to grow into a chain, I’d suggest that one thing remain constant – your staff attitude. Invest in it, improve on it, make it high on your list of focuses to further carve your competitive edge.
Oh and when the sun’s out, get some chairs outside!
I’ll be back.
PS. I was even ‘Blessed’ after a sneeze. The devil is in the detail. Nicely done.
PPS. I returned to see if standards were kept and thankfully, they were.