Not many people will know that I began my career in hospitality, working all over Australia before donning the suit and ditching the apron. My time in hospitality actually taught me a lot. It taught me to never piss chefs off; to listen to my customers and help them to make sure they got exactly what they came for as quickly as possible.
In many ways, hospitality and advertising are the same beast… The chefs (creative & planners) are highly strung artists, applying their trade daily under constant pressure from their customers, and the attitude… wow… the attitude.
On the floor, the waiters (suits and account managers) and bar staff are the conduit between the customer and the kitchen and ultimately the glue that holds these two together.
They need to understand exactly what the customer needs, help them decide if they’re not sure and ultimately relay that information succinctly back to the kitchen. Then they have to manage the output, check for mistakes and ensure that everything is delivered on time. Afterwards, they need to make sure the customer was happy and if not, find out why so they can address any issues now and in the future.
Next we have the menu (proposal), which needs to be designed to pique customers’ interest as well as educate them on the services available from the restaurant.
It needs to be simple enough for the layman yet technical enough to show the flair, experience and skills of the kitchen. Whilst the menu in a restaurant is a one size fits all kind of deal versus a proposal in advertising that’s customised, the staff still need to understand that menu so intrinsically that they can suggest and almost customize its contents for each individual.
I’m sure you’ve been to a restaurant before and had either amazing food, amazing service or maybe both. It’s a great experience and guarantees that you’ll be back time and time again, not to mention talking to your friends about it. On the flip side, I’m sure you’ve been to some terrible places, which you probably were a lot more vocal about.
Now, pretend (or not, if you actually are) that you’re a marketer. You don’t want to go to an agency that only has one good chef or waiter - you want to go to an agency that has the whole package. If you don’t know exactly what you want to order then you need guidance from professionals that truly understand how their services can positively effect your marketing goals. Once you have decided, you need to know that those requirements will be exactly what is delivered to you… Every. Single. Time.
So, the next time you make an order, make sure you’re eating at the right agency.
The writer is Tobias Wilson is the managing director (a.k.a. 'The Getaway Driver') of Accomplice.