At Drink Tank, we think a lot about what it means to be a good host. When we bring people together to solve problems we want them to feel comfortable, equipped and excited to work with new people. (This happens to be something we have in common with Google, who has been super focused on “Psychological Safety” lately/wisely.) This week we had the opportunity to meet with two of Chicago’s experts on hospitality – Chef Charles Webb and Alexios Milioulis. We asked them how they make people feel welcome, here's what they had to say:
By understanding their needs/wants before hand, and how to exceed them. Giving them a warm experience from beginning to the end- how they are greeted, the energy that flows in the space, "the psychology of place," putting them at ease as well. You need to guide them through their experience and journey- food, beverage, lighting, music, ambience all play huge roles but ultimately it comes down to how people interact, and communicate on those levels. - Charles Webb
Little things set the tone for how people are going to take a dining experience. The fact is they could have a negative experience with the whole restaurant because the hostess was short with them, and that actually overshadows the truth behind the service they get from the server or what they’re tasting. First impressions are everything, but from there I like to identify who’s sitting down, what they're ordering, what they’re drinking. Anything and everything I want to know about them because next time they come in, maybe I’ll surprise them with their favorite drink. That sets you at a bar higher than most places because you’re not just doing the norm, you’re doing something that’s unexpected. - Alexios Milioulis, Hospitality Director for Dineamic Hospitality Group
Once you start to look for it, you'll see examples of making people feel welcome everywhere. Here are two examples of voice and tone that inspired us lately.