The Importance of Regulars In Restaurants
  Re: (...)
This was in one of my newsletters this a.m. and gotta say, this is one restaurant I would love to get to with her feelings on regulars!! Does anyone have a restaurant like this in their area?

The Importance of Regulars
April 07, 2010

Megan Garrelts is the pastry chef/co-owner of Kansas City’s Bluestem.

Before I had my own restaurant, as a customer dining in a small, family-owned restaurant, I often noticed the chef’s nod to a guest at the door or the lengthy time a manager or owner spent at particular table. It was as though those guests had been dining at the restaurant their entire lives. Now, as an owner, the importance of our regular customers is apparent to me each night we open our doors.

The obvious benefits of having our best customers are that they dine with us very often, tend to book and share special events with us, and their wonderful ability to spread good word about what we do. I was not prepared, however, for the many amazing friendships that our guests have returned to us along with their loyalty.

I do not ask much of my guests when they come to see us; I only expect that they sit back, relax, and let us cook and serve for them. But many of our best customers have brought us gifts from their gardens in the summer, such as fresh herbs they want us to use, tomatoes we have to try or even homemade elderberry jam. Some of our guests have shared with us ingredients they picked up on vacations; sea salts, special sugars, wine and spices they smuggled onto jet planes and said we had to have, as they were thinking of us on their culinary adventure. Sometimes we have guests who want us to join them in their homes for a sampling of their favorite dishes.

However, most times simply sharing a glass of wine and chatting in the dining room keeps our customers (and now, new friends) happy to catch up and return for more hospitality. The little things we can do, like remembering their anniversaries with a glass of Champagne, an extra course here or there, or just being chefs in our small restaurant, are enough to remind them to keep coming back to us.

Our restaurant is not always perfect; we have bad nights with food or service and sometimes menu items that need adjustments. Over the past six years, we have grown and evolved into the restaurant that we are today, and it is because some of our guests helped us change. Some of our most loyal guests had terrible experiences when they first dined with us in our infancy. We stopped, listened to them and made changes per their requests, which turned them into repeat customers and helped us become better chefs and owners.

My husband and I have been truly blessed with so many happy customers and support from Kansas City. It is now easy for me to understand what makes a restaurant memorable and I myself have favorite spots in Kansas City for those different reasons. It’s wonderful to know that we have created a restaurant where people feel they have found a place to be at our tables. newsletter."


We have a new place in town that is looking like it will fit in this category - very nice people.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: The Importance of Regulars In Restaurants by cjs (This was in one of m...)
There are several like that in Southport. While at the Pharmacy that day, Kelli, the chef and owner served a couple of the tables herself and chatted with the customers. She even took time out to chat with Mom and I. Sadly, I am no longer a regular. I miss that. But I still love to visit them when I'm there.
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: The Importance of Regulars In Restaurants by Gourmet_Mom (There are several li...)
I really liked the tone of her message as well. Our favorite neighborhood restaurant is a 4 or 5 location mini-chain, but the manager definitely appreciates the fact that their business is based on regulars, and works really hard to make people from the local area comfortable. He wants to be sure that we appreciate the service, value and (most importantly) the quality of the food served.

It sounds like this restaurant is working for that kind of area that I think is under-appreciated in the celebrity-driven society in which we live.
  Re: Re: The Importance of Regulars In Restaurants by karyn (I really liked the t...)
That was well said

I wish I could be a regular at something like that. We used to but the place has changed so much (gotten worse) that we stopped going.

It may be time for us to hunt down a new watering hole.
  Re: The Importance of Regulars In Restaurants by cjs (This was in one of m...)
It is not only important to the restaurant but it important to be that customer too. I eat in many places because they are my customers--they put money in my pocket so I give some back to them. They treat me well, and vice versa. Really makes a meal nice. Others, we have at least two, one an upscale chain (Italian), the other a real treasure (Wine Spectator gives them 2 glasses) stand on their own. We go often enough that we know the chef, sous chef, bartender, wine steward (in the one), and waiters--I never leave less than a 20% tip and they treat us very well--both have wine dinners and we always get special treatment. Just makes you feel good--you don't have to go that often, just show that you appreciate them. We receive free trial glasses of wine (even in the chain), and chefs little bites between courses. Being a regular is important to me!!
"He who sups with the devil should have a. long spoon".
  Re: Re: The Importance of Regulars In Restaurants by Old Bay (It is not only impor...)
One place we went on vacation in Estes Park was the Dunraven Inn where they really cater well to their regulars. We went two evenings in a row for dinner and the owner recognized that we were repeat customers. He greeted us warmly and gave us a complimentary after dinner liqueur. It was recommended by a colleague and next time in Estes Park, we'll dine there again.

Locally, we don't frequent any one place since we eat at home most of the time.

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