A few weeks ago mm and I had dinner at The Mixing Pot – an Italian bistro in Glebe. You know the type of place – waiters who treat you very well, a classic Italian menu, amazing quality, lots of lovely attention to detail. Not the sort of place that gets a lot of attention or press in “what’s hot” lists, but a place where there is a lot of loyalty and love.
We got there at about 9pm, and it was packed. No problem! We have a table! Some Australian-Italian chatter with the waiter. Food arrived quickly with a flourish. Laughter and apologies about a mislaid salad. Shared tirumasu that made me cry. And a shot of house limoncello at the end to top the meal off. I don’t know how else to describe it – I was charmed! And with the bill arrived a little survey about the service and food etc. Being the surveyaddict I am I dutifully filled it in. I’ve since found out this place is a bit of a gem; been on the scene for a long time. Has a very good reputation etc. And on the weekend I received in my inbox a sweet email from the Mixing Pot with the subject “welcome”. They said how appreciative they were for the feedback, and I am now considered a “preferred guest”. And to say thank you when I book my next table there I will receive a complimentary bottle of wine (and not a crap bottle, a relatively good one). I see this is a service that is driven by an outside supplier (impact data), but it was personal and sweet and although delivered via email, felt kind of hand-done and low-tech…it only worked because my experience at the restaurant itself was so great. If I had had a shit time, and the food was nasty then the email would have just served to remind me of how rubbish the whole evening was. But irrationally I imagine the nice man who served us doing up that email himself.
The more I look into the Impact Data site I see it’s not just sweet service, but simply hard-nosed business…make a connection with me, offer me something to come again, and probably in the future offer something more to refer a friend. But it really hammers home that it only works for places like the Melting Pot because they provide something that I want to tell people about – I’ve only been there once, but I love the place. We only had a quick dinner, but I’m looking forwardto eating there again. We only ordered one course and shared a desert, but the sweet, professional waiters treated us like we were just as important as the people who ordered three. I’ve told so many people about it since we’ve been.
A few months ago I posted my fear of word of mouth killing something that was dear to me, and its lack of “scalability”. Is Mixing Pot scalable? Yeah, absolutely! I reckon those sharp Italian guys have that all wrapped up.
(oh, and I recommend the Linguine con Gamberi, Cape-Sante E Rucola…mm had the Spaghetti alla Chioggiotta – Spaghetti with fresh Cuttle fish & Calamari in squid ink sauce – but the squid ink gave him an eerie resemblence to Danny Devito as The Penguin…)