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Lagniappe

Small gifts improve restaurant guest satisfaction
Louisiana history is steeped in the traditions of the Creole and Cajun people. If I could select one word to sum up the rich influence of these diverse cultures it would be Lagniappe (pronounced lan' yap).

{mosimage} Louisiana history is steeped in the traditions of the Creole and Cajun people. If I could select one word to sum up the rich influence of these diverse cultures it would be Lagniappe (pronounced lan' yap).

"What the heck is lagniappe?" you ask.... According to our friend Webster, a lagniappe is:

1. A small gift presented by a storeowner to a customer with a customer's purchase.
2. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit.

In Louisiana, it's described simply as "a little something extra." And if you've ever been to Louisiana, you know that there's plenty extra for residents and visitors alike. Our first encounter with lagniappe was — where else? — on a menu. The restaurant applied the concept of a baker's dozen to an order of oysters on the half shell. Another menu had an entire section entitled "Lagniappe," featuring side dishes, from alligator pears (avocados) to real alligator... and everything in between.

Lagniappe should be part of your company's culture.

  • It can be spontaneous, like a sample of a signature dish brought from the kitchen with the chef's compliments.
  • It can be a part of your regular service, like a petite bowl of consommé to start a sophisticated lunch or dinner, or a bowl of boiled Cajun red potatoes served with the local delicacies at Deanie's in New Orleans. In the bar, kick it up a notch and splurge on an unique give-away instead of the typical, boring snack mix. Blender drinks could come with the overpour in a shot glass on the side.
  • It doesn't even have to be food related. How about servers knowing the inside scoop about the history of your operation, the secret behind a signature item's preparation, or even a small gem of local lore?
  • Lagniappe should always be part of your marketing plan. Deliver a little something sweet after the table has been cleared. Offer gift certificates that cross promote day parts.

Get creative and think of some unique experience proposition that adds value to your dining experience. Challenge your management team to keep their eyes open for a week and come back with three different ways you could "give a little something extra." After all, lagniappe is a great way to make a good impression, build a reputation as the best value in your market create loyal customers and WOW your regulars.

Okay... you know we couldn't write this without adding a lagniappe of our own. We're offering a 25% discount on any of our books, videos, training systems, etc. And Trade Secrets Members get your member discount on top of this. To redeem this offer, just enter or mention Coupon Code "lagniappe" when placing your order.

See also:
Gone fishin'
It ain't about the food  

 


Bill Main is a nationally-recognized author, consultant and speaker. His company, Bill Main & Associates, specializes in strategic growth plans for foodservice entrepreneurs. For information on how you can grow your top line revenues through innovative marketing, menu, leadership and training systems, visit www.billmain.com.

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