Erin French, owner and head chef at The Lost Kitchen in Maine, US, had a welcome problem: she was getting too many calls for reservations to her tiny restaurant. Almost as soon as she opened, bookings were steady to this out-of-the-way restaurant that serves local produce and food from her own garden, but the launch of her cookbook saw them become overwhelming.
So she came up with a unique idea.
Instead of making a phone call, reservations could only be made by handwritten notecard. This personal touch was so popular she received over 20,000 requests in the first month.
Although only a name and address were required, guests sent tiny sketches or watercolours, wrote heartfelt notes about the need for the comforting Lost Kitchen experience during a difficult time, told triumphant stories about successful organ transplants and shared their lives in the most personal and beautiful ways.
“It was so nice to just go the old-fashioned route,” said one customer.
French feels that serving food is an emotional connection to her customers.
“At the start of the day, I think, ‘Alright, here’s who we’re feeding tonight. We have a sense of who these people are before they even come in the door.”
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