I’m always thrilled when I discover a new eatery – especially one with decent vegetarian options. I was out driving in the gorgeous farmland of Saanichton enjoying the fall colours and late morning mist. I was in the area for an appointment and afterward decided to stop nearby and pick up food for the dog. As I pulled into a parking spot in the plaza, cheerful new lettering caught my eye – Adriana’s Mexican Catering & Deli. Perfect timing! It was lunch time and my stomach was just starting to growl.
Upon entering I was greeted by delightful smiles and pleasant aromas. There were free samples (bonus!) of salsa as well as crispy pita strips with cinnamon and sugar (so bad, yet SO good!). I liked the sound of the burrito with Mexican rice and roasted veggies so I ordered it to-go. (I must admit that I was a bit disappointed that they microwaved it – a panini-style grill would have been ideal). As I paid, the man behind the till answered my questions about the place and told me they’d been open only a couple of months. I was already in a good mood at having found this new eatery, but something happened just before I left that turned my impression of Adriana’s from good to great. It was something that made the marketer and customer service stickler in me jump for joy:
When they handed me my burrito and accompanying salsa/sour cream, there was a little wax paper envelope on top which contained a ginger snap cookie – for free! There was no mention of the free gift or any “here’s a sample of our fresh baked goods” sales pitch, just a silent handing over of the goods. The pleasure I felt at getting something “extra” – a silent token of appreciation for my patronage – was overwhelming. So much so that I took a picture of it in my car after eating my tasty burrito, and went back in to ask if I could photograph the owner and deli, and share them with my friends. To use Seth Godin’s words – it was what set them apart as remarkable – a purple cow in a field of ordinary Holsteins. To me, food is an experience – and that extends far beyond the moment it touches my tastebuds. It’s about service, ambiance, love, nutrients, after-effects and so much more.
Does this remind you of a time you received something extra that changed your opinion of a place, or left a lasting impression? I’d love to hear about it in the comments….