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What I learned from an evening with Nigella Lawson

I recently attended an evening with Nigella Lawson in Melbourne.

Gary Mehigan was the host for the evening and together they were relaxed, interesting and the atmosphere friendly & light hearted. It made for the most enjoyable night and I was pleased that Nigella came across as genuine on stage as she does on her shows.

As a Restaurateur I was pleased to walk away with some food for thought (pardon the pun); and below are my key takeaways from the evening.

What matters most is how we make people feel. As Restaurateurs our goal is to create a fantastic experience for our customers in the hope that they will return, from initial contact with our venues right through to when they leave. It made me think about how we manage and clearly communicate our expectations of this overall experience to our team. Do our staff really understand our expectations on food quality/consistency, warmth of service and ambience etc.? If not, why not, and what can we do to make this clear so we reach this goal.

Happiness comes from kindness. This may seem slightly romantic but it made me wonder, do I run happy restaurants? Are my customers, staff and suppliers happy? Additionally am I happy? If I’m unhappy as a Restaurateur and leader then how can I expect my staff to be happy. I wonder if we put more thought into our own happiness, would this result in a happier restaurant.

It doesn’t have to be fancy to be memorable. This can relate to food, service or overall management of your venue. For example, is a simple sequence of service that is easy for staff to understand, yet provides the level of service you desire, better than a 30 step process? What can you simplify in your restaurant that will make service or your menu more effective but still be memorable?

Ignite fire and passion in people. As the leader of your business, what are you doing to ignite fire and passion in your team so this comes through in service. In my experience, customers love hearing about a new dish or a new product on the menu. When relayed with passion they are more likely to try it and get excited. If you don’t ignite this fire in your teams then I believe we are doing our customers a disservice.

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