A series of anecdotes with or without any connection to the running of a restaurant.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

We welcome your valued opinion...

I have had visitors' books in my restaurants for over twenty years. At the beginning, I insisted on using the pre-printed kind like the ones found in guesthouses.
They proved inadequate, as the comments part was tiny, and they were quite costly.
Nowadays, I simply buy cheap lined notebooks then print and laminate the cover myself as in the photo below.

Our waiting staff usually place the bill inside the book to encourage customers to leave comments on their visit to our establishments.

Every now and then, some of our younger customers get hold of the pen while the parents are paying the bill and let their inspiration dictate the contents.

Aside from this kind of funny interlude, I ALWAYS welcome constructive criticism as it helps me tweak things as we go. Many businesses in general and restaurants in particular do not listen to their customers and then wonder why these have stopped coming.


Blogger Caroline said...

Hew cream I just illustrated a really relevant quote about this - thanks for the synchronicity!

Its on my card blog... if you are interested.

24/3/07 4:52 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Hew cream I just illustrated a really relevant quote about this - thanks for the synchronicity!

Its on my card blog... if you are interested.

24/3/07 4:52 PM  
Blogger Hayden said...

I think it's a great idea - but I confess that I'm a tiny bit dissapointed in the covers. Knowing your drawing talent, and the beauty of your mosaics.... ???

24/3/07 4:52 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Oh look it came out twice - weird...

24/3/07 4:52 PM  
Blogger Merisi's Vienna For Beginners said...

I think this a great idea, to take the guestbook directly to your guests, that way they feel encouraged to pencil in a note or two. I love the children's illustration. Why not go further and give them a small sheet of paper and no. 2 or coloured pencils right when they arrive? Would give them something to do while waiting for the food, and if you add a little note that the best ones are going to be pasted in your guestbook, they might turn out some pretty good art work, and peace and quiet for their parents and your other guests. Kids are the greatest artist, and who knows, you may even discover a future Picasso amongst your pizza fans!
I would use a notebook without lines, to me lines on a blank page are like iron bars that curtail creative outlet.

Re my camera:
I am currentl using my son's 7.2 Cybershot from SONY (the US model). I you are interested in knowing more about my experience with it, I am more than willing to share it with you. My own camera is also a SONY Cybershot, 5.2 European model.

24/3/07 5:01 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

Caro, Bill Gates is definitely right there. Although it is flattering to receive compliments in our visitor's books or directly from customers, I always find myself listening more to those unhappy ones.

Hayden, that goodness you are around! I will make sure my next batch of visitors's books is much more ornate. Thank you.

Merisi, thanks for the suggestions. We have an on-going competition for kids where they win one of our T-shirts but your idea of artwork has unleashed all sorts of projects in me! I will reveal all in the future.

As for the camera, it is such coincidence that I saw one just this afternoon. One of regular customers, who works in China was celebrating his 60th birthday at one of our places. He produced a Sony Cybershot and his wife took a photo of the two of us together. I was very impressed and said he should forget it on the table...

Thanks for revealing your secret! That's definitely going to be my next purchase...

24/3/07 6:05 PM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

That Jennii is a one isn't she... and all those chaps in the palm of her hand. I wonder what the numbers on the finger meant?

Is that the imprint of an IOU I can see from the previous page?

24/3/07 8:07 PM  
Blogger muddy red shoes said...

I ALLWAYS draw in visitors books, they are important and facinating documents...ooh can u tell I have just been out 4 a good meal with friends and beaucoup de vin?

24/3/07 10:09 PM  
Blogger muddy red shoes said...

Cream my man, I am coming to your restaurant, eating your food and drawing in your book, so get ready.

24/3/07 10:12 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

Dizzy, I don't know what young Jennii meant with her squiggles. I'm not au fait with all the new style talk, these days.
No, it's not an IOU, you're joking! We only give credit where it is due.

Sarah, food, wine and friends!! That's what life is all about.

You are welcome to draw in my book because, if I may confess, this afternoon, I sent off for your book... It looks great and I love your art.

24/3/07 10:26 PM  
Blogger kj said...

cream, i owned a restaurant for 5 months! that's all! it was a cool place but i was quite over my head--no prior experience. what i remember most was pushing past total exhaustion when needed and the exhilaration of it every time we opened the doors.

if i were to do it again, which i won't, i would be a heck of a lot smarter about it all. as it was, it was a successful place, but my partner and i almost killed eachother...


25/3/07 3:16 AM  
Blogger lettuce said...

lush food, hehe!
its a great idea.

25/3/07 9:12 AM  
Blogger Cream said...

Five months, KJ? Try twenty two years...
It is true, you either love it or hate it. And it does put a strain on relationships. Up to about two years ago I always thought of it as a holiday. But, though I still enjoy bits of it and the returns, I keep thinking there is more to life than being shackled to a business.

Everything is LUSH for the kids up here, Lettie. Can't remember when they started saying it.

25/3/07 9:56 AM  
Blogger muddy red shoes said...

he he cream, I have no hangover...organic wine is the secret, so am wrapping your book right now! (very much big thanks to you for buying one)xx

25/3/07 10:10 AM  
Blogger Hayden said...

cream, am glad you responded as you did. I almost tossed my comment in the garbage, thinking it a bit - I don't know - pushy. Off, anyway.

25/3/07 8:36 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

Hayden, just goes to show that I always welcome valued opinions...

Sarah, from now on I will shum Paracetamol for organic red wine!

26/3/07 12:15 AM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

well better that you give them the book otherwise these little drawings would be on the actual table!

26/3/07 12:57 AM  
Blogger anna said...

I think it's wonderful that you give them the book with the bill and that you take their comments to heart. I also agree with Hayden - you could do so much better with the cover.

26/3/07 2:08 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

That settles it. Based on Eve and Jennii's raving reviews, I must come and try the pizza!

26/3/07 6:31 AM  
Blogger Cream said...

You're right there Alexandra! They would definitely wreck the tables!

Hayden is right, Anna and I am working on a new cover.

Mike, on your way to Lindisfarne, you can stop for a bite to eat.

26/3/07 10:47 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

what a really great idea!

26/3/07 10:46 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I wonder what I would draw. Hmmm. You're right, customers see this and know that their opinion is valued. Good stuff. My grandmother owned a restaurant for 15 years. I spent the summer serving for her when she first opened. It was one of the most stressful times in my life, can't imagine how difficult it is to run the show.

29/3/07 3:49 AM  

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