6 Tips for Restaurant Owners

Patrick O’Connell of the Inn at Little Washington
Claudio Vazquez
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Focus on Your Guests’ Moods

When guests arrive for a reservation at the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia, the captain assigns them a number that assesses their mood (from 1 to 10, with 7 or below indicating unhappiness). The mood rating is typed into a computer, written on the dinner order, and placed on a spool in the kitchen where the entire staff can see it. Staffers spare nothing -- be it complimentary champagne or a tour of the kitchen--to get diners up to a 9. "If guests ran into terrible traffic on the way over here, or are in the midst of a marital dispute, we need to consider it our problem," says chef-owner Patrick O'Connell.