Its about the experience and the details matter!

by Tom Carroll

My wife and I went to a demonstration dinner at the Chopping Block in Chicago for Valentines Day. I will say this now the food was great and the Chef Susie McCall was wonderful. That said it could have been even better.

It’s about the experience and the details matter.

The meal cost $175 for two. Hmmm. I don’t know about you but any meal over $50 gets my attention.

We arrived at 7 sharp the published start of the class. We drove over 1.5 hours to get there. The dinner had 7 couples 4 seated around the cooking bar and 3 seated at a makeshift table behind the other couples.

Problem 1:
If the cooking bar only seats 4 couples only book 4 couples. Trying squeeze the additional couples in created more problems than it solved. From our second-class seating we could not clearly see the work area. How much revenue per session is enough?

Problem 2:
To seat the 3 additional couples two butcher-block tables were put together to make one table. The chairs used were bar chairs, which left the tabletop and my thighs at the same level. The tables even when placed together forced a person at each end to sit at an awkward angle. It reminded me of an over crowded family party.

Problem 3:
The meal was served family style, dishes passed from the left of the cooking bar around and then to the back table. For the most part this wasn’t to bad except that the asparagus was virtually gone. When the dish was handed to me there were exactly 6 pieces left and 3 people remaining. Hmmmm. I don’t like to do math in order to eat a $175 meal. From what I can tell the folks at the cooking bar didn’t do any math…. Asparagus was on the menu; you never know someone who likes asparagus might come to the meal (Like Me). How much does Asparagus cost? Not enough to make a difference in the profit margin…

My point is that every business must protect their customer experience with fanatical devotion. If something isn’t right the customer will notice. This is even more true for a company like the Chopping Block. After my first class I tried to convince all my close friends and associates to try the Chopping Block. Now I will still recommend but now add Caveat Emptor.