I have done my time in retail and I have this thing about service. An average product can be elevated by excellent service and an excellent product can be made less than average by poor service.
This week we went for a drive to Oxford (rural Canterbury) for lunch at Jo Sea
gar's cafe. When going to a place that has a 'name' I often feel a bit suspicious that they might think they are all that and a box of crackers or that they don't have to try and impress you because you are already impressed by the fact you might have seen it on TV or read about it in a magazine.
The lovely thing is that it is neither. The welcome was warm, the tractors and toys and play things are provided in a spacious little nook and the staff appear genuinely thrilled to have you there. I like the decor - it's not pretentious and it's not super trendy (everything matches and they aren't going for a retro vibe).
While we were there Jo herself came into the restaurant/cafe she could have breezed through with a cursory smile but she didn't. She came around and waited on tables, she chatted to our boys, she genuinely connected with people in the restaurant.
I left feeling like this cafe is a reflection of Jo herself. It has her name on it and it matters to her that people have the kind of experience she'd want them to have if they were at her home.
I remember having a terrible experience at a fabric shop once and my mum saying to me that service in retail always comes down from the management. If they don't care about their customers neither will the people behind the counter.
You can tell it works in the opposite as well. The staff at Jo's cafe also carry this value system and it makes the dining experience elevated - you feel cared for and noticed even in the middle of a busy lunch service. They take time to make you feel like you are important and to me that is the essence of great service.
So today I am loving good service - the kind you can't fake. Jo Seagar's cafe/restaurant is well worth a visit if you get the chance and you'll find it to be a reflection of the Jo you see on TV and in magazines - joyful, warm and welcoming. With good food to boot :o)
This is in no way a paid or sponsored post I just like to give credit where it is due - not that I'd mind if they asked me back or to do one of the cook schools! *wink*