I’ve told you before and it’s no secret that good customer service and child friendly company policies are great for business. It’s not hard to offer diners with children that little extra thought and effort but it goes a long way and nothing’s better advertising than a good word that spreads around fast. I’ve already told you how happy we’ve always been with the service at Villa Thai, not only because the food is great but also because of how child friendly they’ve always been.
I’ll give you an example of the worst kind of customer service we’ve come across as parents – this was at of restaurant just outside of Tallinn called Hüüru Veski (it’s not a fancy place but they have really delicious comfort food) that we used to go to all the time. The place was pretty empty (I can imagine business is slow in the winter) and when we placed our order, we asked if they could maybe make us a tiny plate of vegetable sticks or replace the garnish on our meals with some. What the owner tells us? The only option would be to order the vegetable plate (which is meant to serve several people) they have on their menu. We ask if there’s no way they can just cut up some cucumber and carrots, because there’s no way a baby could eat THAT many vegetables. The man angrily replies they don’t, and I quote, “halve dishes”. We were in complete and utter awe – we didn’t demand anything, especially not free food, we just said we didn’t need a vegetable plate meant for a group of people. Needless to say we are never going back to that place again. Not because the food isn’t good , because it’s great, but because it’s a matter of principle. If they’re not willing to offer us a pleasant experience, we’re more than happy to take our business elsewhere.
Now to the latest dining experience the little one had at La Bottega (and this is what baffles me – a toddler is more welcome at a fancy uptown restaurant than at a regular little restaurant in the outskirts of town). I wasn’t there because I was at home sick and feeling sorry for myself, but H and our little girl went to the restaurant to celebrate the birthday of a family friend. Again, they ask for some vegetables for the baby to snack on. “Hold on, we’ll bring her something better”, the waiter says and arrives a while later with a bowl of grilled vegetables (also in the picture) for the little girl. She got right to stuffing her face with the delicious food and I heard she especially loved the mushrooms. When it was time to leave, H’s mom started to clean up the mess baby had made (completely unavoidable, unfortunately) and the nice waiter stopped her and told her they’d take care of it. Again – those aren’t huge efforts, but it is indeed the best reputation boost for a restaurant. A good impression goes a long-long way. I of course realize that La Bottega is a place that doesn’t need my approval or a horde of toddlers dining at their classy restaurant, but I think their versatility and flexibility really sets an example for all their competitors.
Conclusion? I love great cuisine, I appreciate a stylish interior and a delightful ambiance but most of all, I like for me and my family to be treated with kindness and respect. 🙂