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Gracious Guests

May 17, 2018

It's May. The sun is out. The flowers and vines are exploding in growth in my two worlds; Oregon and Italy. And so are the tourists and guests, arriving in large numbers in both playgrounds I call home. If you are just catching a glimpse of my life as owner operator for The Dundee Bistro and Fratelli Ponzi Fine Food &Wine, I live in central Italy along the Adriatic Coast and commute to our businesses in the beautiful Oregon wine country. Sometimes its via plane and often it is via technology. This week, I am in Italy and have been bouncing around from Parma to Rome, part business/part fun, while keeping in touch with our incredibly talented and dedicated team at The Dundee Bistro and Fratelli Ponzi.  Last weekend was Mother's Day and our restaurant was packed to the top with reservations, last minute add-ons, multiple private party celebrations and walk-ins. They knocked themselves out with special Mother's Day drinks, dessert and flowers.  I am incredibly proud of our team who orchestrates the entertaining, cooking and serving hundreds of guests a day with grace and care. With that many people, there may be a hiccup here and there, but our error rate is 0.5%. Yes, a half a percent when it comes to the number of people who come through the door. 99.5% of our guests leave happy and most, incredibly delighted.  During major holidays, like Mother's Day, there are a lot of people who don't dine out much, put enormous expectations on their special day, and are dining with the masses. Our team gears up for this and at the end of the day decompress with a meeting to discuss what worked well and what didn't. The wild card is always the demanding guest.  The ones who show up late, bring extra guests, substitute nearly everything on the menu and then nothing is to their satisfaction.  It happens.  It’s the restaurant business. Our team is literally walking miles to bring a smile to your face.  In one day, our server's pedometer logged 16 miles within our restaurant hustling food and drinks to our celebratory guests.  Whether its an engagement announcement (like the photo featured here, congratulations Cami and Raj!), birthday, Mother's Day, work lunch or it's a "I am treating myself" moment, we are in the business of happiness with great food in a beautiful and relaxing environment and an upbeat team to make it all happen.  The hospitality and service industry is not for the weak, but the strong. You need physical and mental stamina. It takes creativity, communication and an intense positive attitude to bring joy to people through service every single day. With the "have it your way" or "the customer is always right" slogans that have become a mantra, it sometimes veers to the dark side where guests forget the humanity and privilege of dining out.  As more people are eating out in casual environments and counter service, "full service dining" manners are dwindling and over the top expectations are growing.  As we anticipate another high season in Oregon wine country, there are a few things to consider to make a busy restaurant dining experience a success for everyone.  While these may seem like basic tips, in our busy world, a gentle reminder is a good thing to raise awareness for conscience consideration.

Make a reservation.  June through August is the high season for wine touring.  We are on OpenTable or just call us directly.  If possible, give us some information about your visit so we can make it the best experience ever.  Some scenarios follow:

Running Late? Please call and let us know when you may be arriving so we can keep your table at the ready!

Have an extra guest or two or three?  Give us a heads up before arriving. Tables are configured and reserved with a certain number of guests per section.  Even an extra body during the high season can throw off a calculated balance for the front of the house.

Have food allergies or special needs?  If we know ahead of time, we can make a special note to present the best menu or seating options.

Celebrating a special occasion?  While we love being spontaneous, it’s even better if we have a little warning so we can welcome guests in celebratory fashion.

Just can’t make your reservation?  Please do call us.  Let us know instead of not showing up.  We won’t be offended …. Stuff happens.  Think of the joy you gave to waiting guests by offering your table.  It’s a wonderful thing.

Didn’t meet your expectations?  Let us know directly so we can continue to make improvements with hiring and employee training.

Surpassed your expectations?  We welcome your sincere compliments that vindicate the miles walked, the hundreds of dishes washed, and glasses buffed.  A kind word to those who served and cooked goes a long way. It makes their day to make your day.

A big thank you to all our gracious and loyal guests. As usual, our team is back in the kitchen seeing what treasures our farmers and foragers are bringing in and prepping food. The tables are set and the music is on. It's another day of entertaining and our team is poised with a ready smile to greet you. We do it seven days a week for lunch and dinner at The Dundee Bistro. Bring your appetites.  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news.


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