Whenever I check into a nice hotel, I always ask, "Did I get that Dumpster view that I requested?" Nine out of ten times I get a bemused response like "Oh no, sir. I'm sure we can do better than that," along with the occasional upgrade to the free cocktail concierge floor. Of course, now that I've told you all my secret, it's back to the "river view" I got during my last visit to Baton Rouge.
There are definitely benefits to being a preferred customer in any establishment. In the restaurant world, these perks range from preferred last-minute reservations to complimentary drinks or desserts. At the very worst, you would hope to avoid that table in the servers' path between the kitchen and the bar well when you're trying to impress someone on a date. A recent article in Grub Street-New York describes the traditional road to the promised land:
As conventional wisdom goes, there are three golden rules that are fundamental to being a Regular.
1. Go to the restaurant a lot.
2. Don't be a pain in the ass: Show up on time, say please and thank you, respect the house and its rules (such as dress code).
3. Always tip 20 percent on the total bill, and tip in cash.
Okay, so the rules are a bit obvious--nevertheless, they are indeed essential behaviors of a good Regular.
The article goes on to describe some other less obvious dining practices which will ingratiate a patron with the staff. Most of them revolve around The Golden Rule and remembering to be gracious and grateful, often in the form of folded-up bills pressed into a palm with a hearty handshake or by buying a round for the kitchen staff at closing time. Also interesting is the suggestion to make sure that you get yourself into a restaurant's computer system as soon and as often as possible. Like in the casino world, inclusion in a database of habitués is often the key to Comp City.
So Bites readers, how important is it to you to achieve Regular status? What do you expect/receive in return for your loyalty? Which places in town do the best job at recognizing their most devoted customers? And to those of you in the industry, do you spend as much time retaining clients as you do looking for new business?
We promise we won't tell your secrets. It'll just be between us chickens.