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Last Update: Thursday February 27, 2020

Key Idea: Hire a Maitre D'

Every business needs to have someone who is responsible for customer happiness. More...

Key Question:


Have someone on your team who is responsible for customer happiness.

We all know that the maitre d' sets the tone for our dining experience. In most situations once the maitre d' has seated us, the waiter takes over. We learned here though that the maitre d' is working constantly on behalf of every customer from the moment that person arrives until they leave. The maitre d' has to smooth matters between all waiters and often has to run interference with the kitchen staff.

Q: Why should every business have maitre d'?

Because every business should have someone responsible for customer happiness. Many might call this person the chief of customer service. In a big company this person might be the head of the public relations department. While there are plenty of jobs requiring a person to deliver customer service there is a deep rich history of elegance and grace in the title, maitre d'.

Think about it

If you don't want to take this idea literally and use it, can you use it metaphorically?

Clip from: The French Laundry with Chef Thomas Keller

Yountville, Napa Valley, California: He took a little-known restaurant in a little town and turned it into one of the most famous places in the world.  Le Monde said (paraphrased), "Can it be possible that the best French restaurant is not  in France but ...California?" 

Visit The French Laundry and the man who made it come to life, Chef Thomas Keller.  He now also owns Per Se in New York City, and Bouchon in Yountville and in Las Vegas.  To accomplish this growth, he has recruited, hired and trained some of the best chefs and service people in the country.

Writer Irvine Welsh had this to say about dining at The French Laundry,  "...I salivate now as I think of the Truffle-pickled Hen Eggs with 'its creamy yellow' and Chopped Black Truffles.  ...obviously, the title of 'best restaurant in the world' is subjective to the point of lunacy. Having said that, I doubt it would be possible for The French Laundry to be equaled.

...Thomas Keller is a true giant among chefs, coming over as a genuinely inspirational figure, and to see him in action in his kitchen is pure joy."

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French Laundry

Thomas Keller, Owner

6640 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599

Visit our web site:

Office: 707.944.2380

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Hire a Maitre D'

HATTIE: (Voiceover)
Pascal de Philippe is the maitre d'.

PASCAL DE PHILIPPE: The main thing for me is to take care of the customer, to assist them in their choice ... to help them decide on their wine, and to make sure everything is fine at the table.
And he's the person, too, that he's the mediator between the dining room and the kitchen. The small establishment, you kind of let your personality take over a little bit ... I mean, a great maitre d' has to have a big personality. But I'm not there to impress people; I want the food and the service to impress them. The biggest compliment that we have is when people leave and say, `Well, it was worth waiting.' And when they tell us that, inside of me, I have a little smile.

HATTIE: So does your point-of-purchase system tell you which of the choices they made within those courses because that price isn't different?

Employee: Yes, it does that. It also breaks it down into the--it separates the food amount, wine amount, beverages amount, tax and gratuity. It separates all of that for us. I that think the most helpful thing is just our inventory. It makes our inventory so easy. We have such a small wine cellar that being able to just get a printout of the wines that are sold and just update it daily really helps a lot.

HATTIE: It's fast. It's much easier.

Employee: Oh, yes.

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