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STK Restaurant Focuses on the Customer

Cosmopolitan_LogoA few weeks ago, I was in Las Vega, NV for a conference.  One night a colleague and I at the STK restaurant in the new Cosmopolitan Casino.  The food was phenomenal.  Just an incredible meal.

The meal is not the reason for writing about the restaurant though.  The service is excellent also.  But, the service wasn’t your traditional restaurant service.  It was choreographed to be efficient and provide the customer with incredible service.

Typical restaurant service, no matter how nice the restaurant, is to have one waitress/waiter and maybe someone different bring out your food.

Not at STK.  We had 2 waitresses and at least 3 servers.  That is a total of five people servicing us and the area we sat in.

There was NEVER any confusion about what was going on at our table and we were never asked the same questions twice.  In fact, everything ran so smoothly that we were almost done with our meal when I asked my colleague if she noticed the five different people serving us.

At one point, one waitress came up to our table and asked, “I know (waitress’ name) is getting you more drinks.  Is there anything else I can get you right now?”  They had communicated enough to know what one was doing for our table so as not to repeat it.  Keep in mind, they are doing this for a section of the restaurant.  Not just us.

As we finished our appetizer and had five minutes to chat, a server came over and asked if we were ready for our main course.  He did not ask if we were done with the appetizer.  He specifically asked if we were ready for our main course.  His focus was on what we, as the customer, wanted.  We replied, “yes.”  The server removed our appetizer plates and utensils.  Within 60 seconds, a second server was at our table setting the utensils for the main course.  Within 2 minutes of him leaving a third server brought our food out.  In 3 minutes our table was cleared, reset and food brought to us by 3 different people.

These are just a couple of examples of how the restaurant focused on the customer and serving their needs in a very efficient way.

The process guy in me asked the waitress at the end how they do it.  She said they have a plan and understand how long it takes for the food to be prepared.  They have a wall where the drink station is and communicate on an ongoing basis throughout the night where no one can see so it is seamless to the customer.

This was a great of example of Lean’s #1 focus…delivering value to the customer.  The seamless effort and great service along with the great food made it an incredible experience.

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Your Problem Solving Team

This post is the second of at least three posts in my problem solving mini-series.   Think of this as “more lessons learned along the way”.  In my career, I’ve been part of a bunch of problem solving activities/projects/blitzes etc.  Over time, I’ve developed a sort of ‘radar’ that clues me in that I am dealing with people who aren’t plugged in or who think they already have the answers.  These clues don’t lead me to knowing who is “in” and who is “out”, just who might need to be dealt with differently than others.  Without further ado, here’s my list of red flags:

– Saying “I think” – Unless you are brainstorming or there is a very specific reason, problem solving is not usually the time for a soapbox.  It should be a time to focus on data and facts.

– Ignoring data – Often, people come in to an activity with the ‘solution’ in their head or a bias towards some particular actions.  These folks can cause a lot of havoc in sidetracking others.

– Placing TOO much faith in data – The flipside of the above problem.  Some folks become so data focused that they fail to see potential pitfalls with the data being used or the real world impact of what is happening.

– Talking about the way they solved this problem “in their old job” – While the problem you are solving is probably not unique to the world, solutions aren’t generally ‘copy and paste’ ready.  And, even if they are, the cause and effect needs to be understood in your specific case before implementing the solution.

– Being overly confident in the skills of the team – I’m a firm believer that people can learn and contribute at whatever level they may be at.  However, sometimes you need to consider the limitations in skills and/or experience that the team has so you can learn how to augment it.

These aren’t hard and fast rules, but some of the key flags I’ve come across in the past.  What about you…any red flags you have found?