A few weeks ago I had dinner with a few colleagues at a Morton’s Steakhouse. Upon entering the establishment it was immediately apparent that despite it being only 7:30 we were literally the only patrons there.
After being seated and scanning the menu for a few seconds (which is all it took since it was a single sheet of paper without any gratuitous food shots) our server wheeled over a silver push cart on which was an assortment of steaks and an enormous sea crustacean that was either a Lobster or Megalon; nemesis of Godzilla and protector god of the underwater city of Seatopia. The steaks were, as far as I could tell, no longer living, but were still secured in place by plastic wrap to their respective plates. Conversely, the Lobstrosotie, which was most certainly still alive, was merely placed on a dish without the restraints, shackles, and/or manacles that would have been required to keep the prehistoric beast from lunging across the table and severing my carotid artery with its claws.
Though in the end we all decided to order items without an exoskeleton, I was impressed by the way Morton’s engages its customers by literally bringing their menu to life. Though our server probably spent a little extra time with us as she had no other tables to check on, the simple act of wheeling a live lobster and some of their finest cuts over to a table instead of relying on lifeless menu photos (by making the experience real) must increase impulse orders and increase check averages; not to mention create an immediate bond between customers and a server who has to wrestle with an angry 7lb lobster while listing off the daily specials.
Not every organization can impress its customers with shellfish, but every organization can do the little things to make a customer experience more engaging, more real.