How to Deliver a Better than Exceptional Experience

You go out for dinner. You might have a very good experience. You might have a great experience. And if you’re lucky, you’ll have an experience that is even better than exceptional.
I had one of those experiences a few nights ago at Cinc Sentits (Five Senses in Catalan), a Michelin-starred restaurant in Barcelona. Based on what I had read, I had high expectations. But also a few reservations. After all, restaurants don’t always live up to their reputations. And I recalled a previous experience at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Napa that was very disappointing.
Well, our experience was absolutely outstanding. I could describe the – am I really going to use this word? – delectable, six-course tasting menu that made us savor every bite. I could explain how the service made us feel we were being guided, expertly and caringly, throughout the journey of our meal. Yet what stood out most, and made such an impactful experience, was not simply the food or the service. It was the uncompromising attention to detail.
The little things. Everything. The piece of linen intentionally positioned over a stone on the table listing the names of each of our servers for the evening. The menu ribbons that matched the lampshades. That our host didn’t just ask about any food allergies we might have but also any food items we might dislike. The identical positioning of the food on our plates. The identical orientation of the plates facing us. The interesting tidbits of information the servers provided about each food and drink item. The subtle flavor variations of the cacao bits paired with each of the three dessert sherries. That the 60-year-old sherry was bottled only two weeks ago at the request of our sommelier. Every detail was considered. Every detail was managed.
Yet not in a mechanical or soulless way. Unlike many high-end restaurants, it never felt like they were trying to impress us with what they were doing. It felt like everything was done with our experience in mind.
Many organizations talk about providing an outstanding experience. But are they committed to ensuring that every moment consistently reinforces that experience?
Are you?
Make it happen.
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