09 Mar Rewards, Awards and Reviews
I wanted to write about my side and my view on rewards, awards and reviews for a long time. All so important for a restaurant owner. So close to my heart.
Reviews; the heart stopping moment of the unknown. Every time, every single time, when I can see that we have a new review, I have that second of heart-banging worry in me. And then, a big, deep breath of relief… or a horrible feeling of stabbing straight in my chest. Don’t get me wrong. We need reviews and we want to get reviews. We want to know what customers think about us as a restaurant. We need feedback to improve, to learn and to avoid mistakes.
We are humans. We are not perfect. We make mistakes (hopefully not too many). Our job is to make our customers happy and look after them as well as we can every single time. I really want to know what our customers think about us. Momo is my life and my passion. I’m learning and developing as I go. I don’t know everything. I always want to do better.
I am probably the toughest critic. I am never really happy with myself and I always want to do better. I’m not alone. I believe that most restaurant owners are doing the best they can every single day. We are all different. Each place is different but we all want the same; happy, returning customers.
It is in human nature to judge, to have expectations. I do judge, even if I want to or not. The decor, atmosphere, staff, food, and every thing else. Why? Because I have to choose the meal, order it, eat it (or not) and pay for it! And I want to be happy to do so. And if I do it, you do it too. A special occasion, quick lunch or meal with friends can be ruined by customer service, food, atmosphere etc. Please, wherever you go, please give feedback. Tell us what you think – the good, the bad and the ugly?.
It is very difficult to look at yourself from the outside, to see it from a customer’s perspective. If something goes wrong, we might be able to fix it, but bad reviews can really affect business. Just please, before you sit down to write a negative review on TripAdvisor or on social media, talk to us first. We don’t want to upset anyone. We want happy, satisfied customers. For me, the reviews are really personal. It is my business, my today, my future and my dream. The best moments for me, as a restaurant owner, are seeing happy customers. A lovely, little message from a customer, an email, a smile or even a “thank you” really makes our day. So, thank you❤️!
From customers reviews to food critic reviews…. McKenna Guide, Georgina Campbell, Tom Doorley ….
It was my secret dream to be one day mentioned in a Food and Wine Magazine, and then it happened so quickly. The same week we got listed in 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland in ‘The Sunday Times/The McKennas’ Guide.’ I was in the shower that morning when Harry ran in with the biggest smile saying that we made it on to the list. We were extremely happy…. And scared – yes- SCARED!!!! Why? Because of the extra pressure from the bigger expectations from our customers. Do we deserve it? Are we good enough? These are the questions I’m asking myself every day.
Is it important? Oh, yes. It’s so difficult to survive and get established as a restaurant. Any recognition from the best in the industry is extremely rewarding. It’s hard to give yourself a pat on the back and say ‘I’m doing good. We might be able to survive.’ As I said, I’m a tough self-critic.
Over a year ago we received a letter from The Restaurant Association Awards with a nomination, and soon afterward came our first huge win; “Best Kids Size Me” in Munster. It was an absolutely amazing mark of recognition for us especially because we were only open with 4 months at the time.
This year wasn’t any different. I know how tough our competition is and how many amazing restaurants are around. How can we compete with these fantastic restaurants that are so well established and so successful? We can only do our best, stay honest with ourselves, work hard, stick to our guns, and be consistent.
I was so nervous yesterday. I don’t know why. I really wanted to win an award again. My expectations are growing really fast and I don’t like it. I’m trying to stop myself all the time and appreciate what I have. I have the most beautiful, healthy family. I have amazing and the most supportive friends, and I have my dream business – my Momo. Do I need anything else to prove to myself that I’m doing a good job? Sadly, yes. I don’t think that there will be a day in my life where I stop trying to do things better. Nothing is ever perfect to me, I always want to do better. Winning an award doesn’t define you, or your business. It helps. It gives you belief that you are doing good.
The moment you realise that you won but someone else didn’t. Next time it could be you. The disappointment – is it fair? Who is better? How can you judge? Who works harder? Who is more successful? How can it be measured? These are difficult questions.
We all work very hard. We are passionate about what we do. We always want to improve. The awards and reviews are very important, but returning customers are the key to a successful restaurant. It helps to put on the map a restaurant you like, the service you appreciate, the menu that inspires…. So next time please vote for your favourite restaurant, leave a constructive comment, recommend it to others, and spread the love.