You can tell a lot about a person—or a company—by how they act under pressure. And for the Smith & Wollensky Group, the pressure had to be on during a week of Grand Opening activities, all centered around the opening of their newest iconic location at Boston’s Atlantic Wharf.
We were with them as they put the finishing touches on the building—an old warehouse that was part of what was at one time called “Russia Wharf.” The restaurant’s presence, in fact, can be attributed to Boston’s “Big Dig” that moved the highway underground and opened up wharf-side development opportunities. Its new location is right along the old highway route that has now been pushed underground, allowing both locals and tourists to Boston to enjoy the scenic Rose Kennedy Greenway.
For the classic steak house, now with nine iconic locations around the nation, it was obvious that little things made the difference between “just OK” and “memorable.” The flower deliveries. The table settings, right down to to the signature steak knives. The dignitary gifts, the speeches, and even the charitable contribution raised for the Doug Flutie Junior Foundation for Autism.
The days included the company’s first visits with patrons—while also working with contractors, designers, inspectors, vendors, corporate executives, new trainees, and media. Pressure, indeed.
And the nice thing is, this Restaurant Group—down to a person—came through with flying colors. Professional. Gracious. Courteous.
Sure, there were issues. Broken wine glasses—expensive ones. Misplaced papers. People running on very little sleep. But, as closely as we observed them, there were no outbursts of temper. No territorial issues, even with chefs and managers from other Smith & Wollensky locations. Through it all, the people maintained a sense of humor and a glaring passion to get it right.
Yes, the pressure was on. But so was the professionalism.
Actually, what we saw demonstrated was hospitality. It’s ingrained in these people—part of their nature. They do for others, move out of the way when needed, clean up after themselves and leave things better than they found them.
For us, it was nice to see hospitality in action, even behind the scenes. It’s what the restaurant experience should be.
Even under pressure.
Boston, you have a great experience ahead of you.