This year we decided to give it a try again for our 15th wedding anniversary. One thing they do very well is keep in touch with past guests. If you give them contact information, they send you a postcard for a discount on your birthday, wedding anniversary and the anniversary of your first visit to the restaurant.
The Briarhurst is nestled in a picturesque forest clearing in Manitou Springs and was originally built by Dr. William Bell, the founder of the town and co-founder of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad. It’s a pink stone home with all kinds of unique design elements and supposedly is haunted. It’s no wonder that it’s such a popular site for wedding parties and anniversaries.
When we arrived we were seated in the window seat of the library. The windows are probably original and are as insulating as you would expect 100 year old windows to be. Fortunately, there is a heater right under the bench so it was pretty pleasant. After the hostess seated us we waited for our waiter to show up. And then we waited some more. One waiter passed through the room several times and didn’t say anything. Another was taking care of every table in the room, including the other half of the window seat, but never acknowledged that we were there.
After 20 minutes (I’m probably way too patient), I went to the front desk to ask where our waiter was. The hostess was not the same one who had seated us but she went looking for our waiter.
Almost immediately the original hostess appeared at our table with our waiter and apologized. She admitted that she hadn’t told our waiter that he had a table outside of his regular section. She also offered us a free drink and said that they would do “something” with our bill. Our poor waiter was skittish for the rest of the evening. I think he expected us to start yelling at him or something.
The food was delicious and our waiter did a great job. We got a free hot coffee drink for dessert and our hostess took 25% off our check. Would we go back? Yes, but only because of the followup by the staff.
So what’s the take away for your business?
- It is the business of all of your employees to make sure the business runs well. The waitress in the room we were in was waiting on the couple at the other end of the bench from us. She should have noticed that we hadn’t even been given menus after stopping by the other table multiple times.
- When you make a mistake, take ownership and fix the problem. Taking 25% off our bill was more than I had expected and left me feeling like the hostess really was sorry about the error.
- Deliver on the expectations that you set. This restaurant is one of the most beautiful in the area and the menu (and price tag) is definitely fine dining. The service had better measure up to the unspoken expectations set.