Throughout its history, California Pizza Kitchen, an 85-unit restaurant chain with locations in 20 states, has sought to push the boundaries of creative cuisine with innovations such as a BLT pizza and chicken-tequila pasta. Of course, it helps when customers are equally adventurous and willing to try new dishes.
"Our servers encourage customers not to be bashful," notes Julie Solomon, vice-president of training. To that effect, the Los Angeles-based company established a policy it calls the Adventure Guarantee. Printed at the bottom of each menu is a stamp with the message, "Be adventurous. Try something new. And if it doesn't thrill you, we'll replace it with your usual favorite."
"Servers have the authority to replace any meal," confirms Solomon, who adds that the number of meals returned has not increased at all since the guarantee began. "Bottom line: We want our customers to be thrilled with their dishes."