A few weeks ago, my girlfriend and I finally decided that we’d eaten enough meals out of our laps while spamming TV series online (our current addiction being Sam Esmail’s excellent Mr. Robot) and went out for dinner. Date night had arrived.
Now, I’m not here to write a restaurant review, although I reckon I could give Jay Rayner a run for his money if I wanted to. But, overall I was really disappointed with the whole experience.
It was a difficult thing to define; the food was excellent (particularly the ceviche), the staff were friendly and the company was obviously absolutely stellar.
So why did I feel disappointed? After mulling it over I realised that it was because I felt that my experience hadn’t matched up to the brand promise.
The Andina site promises everything is done ‘con mucho cariño’ (with love) and that the restaurant is a way for the spirit of the owner’s Andean grandmother to live on. This was something that had resonated with us during the decision-making process and we were excited to go on a loving journey into the Peruvian home comforts.
But what we got was a perfectly acceptable restaurant experience. Nothing special. No real sense of love. And, perhaps most crucially, no sense of a journey of discovery. Certainly, we tried new dishes and cocktails but we just ordered them of a menu (without really knowing what they were) and having them served then cleared away. Just like any other service in any one of the thousands of London restaurants.
And this is where I finally get to the point of this article – be careful when you make brand promises that they will be delivered at point of sale. Make sure that you have a clear set of brand values and that your staff know what they are and how to implement them.
Do all this and it will be five stars from me every time.