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My favourite restaurant in Shanghai is Din Tai Fung.
To be honest, it’s not just me – ask anyone who has lived in Shanghai [OK, any expat who has lived in Shanghai] and I’m pretty sure they’d agree.
Apart from the fact the food is bloody amazing, the service levels are impeccable.
As much as people like to heap shit on the standards of cleanliness and service you get in this part of the World, Din Tai Fung [as well as pretty much every major hotel] literally piss all over the global competition.
I have been to this restaurant literally hundreds of times.
Hell, I once went there 6 times in one week.
Yet despite that, they still continually give me a ‘satisfaction form’ to fill in on every visit.
To be honest, having filled so many in, I can now do it with my eyes closed, however just recently I realised that there may be more reasons behind them doing this than simply ensuring perfect product and service.
To explain what I mean, here is the form they give you …
Pretty standard eh?
They ask you a question and then invite you to tick good, fair or poor.
But look at those options, good … fair and poor.
Putting aside the fact that even Gordon bloody Ramsey couldn’t give them a ‘poor’ rating on any aspect of their brand experience, I find it interesting they only let you tick up to ‘good’.
When I’ve been given these sorts of forms from other companies – mainly Western companies – there always seems to be an additional option of ‘excellent’, but not here.
The reality is I’d be ticking that ‘excellent’ box every single time if it was there, which got me thinking …
+ Is it because it ensures no one in the company can get complacent about their standards?
+ Is it because it ensures employees can’t use it as ammunition to get extra big pay rises?
+ Is it because the company won’t ever feel they’ve over-invested in their retail experience?
+ Is it because I’m a planner who thinks way too much about this sort of thing?
Whatever the reason, it’s evil ‘social manipulation’ genius.
Well, unless it’s the last option, then it’s just plain evil.
Last thing, Din Tai Fung is a chain and they’re in quite a few cities around the World – so if there is one near you, you have to go.
I promise that you will not regret it, especially as the food and service standards are more consistent than errrrm, something really good that’s also really consistent. Like Queen and Birkenstocks for example. Ahem.
Seriously, they’re that brilliant you may even forgive me for writing this blog. That’s how good it is. And no, I don’t have any shares in them, but I would absolutely love to and they could pay my dividend in xiaolongbao.
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