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I paid 795€ for one person dinner in a two Michelin star restaurant - Here are 10 things I learned about running a business

I paid 795€ for one person dinner in a two Michelin star restaurant - Here are 10 things I learned about running a business

I participated SaaSiest (A great event by the way.). After that, I was enjoying Copenhagen for two days just by myself and decided to go for a fancy dinner.

Before starting my career in business, I used to study & work as a chef. It's still a hobby for me and typically when I travel, I go to Michelin Guide and try to find some great restaurants to try.

This time I went to Kadeau, a 2 Michelin Star restaurant in Copenhagen. If you haven't gone to fine dining just by yourself, you should do it.

3-4 hours just with your thoughts and great food and wines.

This was the most expensive dinner I've ever enjoyed, but it was worth it.

During the dinner, I had my notebook with me and I wrote a total of 8 pages of notes about the experience & what things I could steal for running a business at TalentBee.

Btw: If you go to a restaurant just by yourself & a notebook you will get quite many questions on what you are writing and if you are a food critic.

Here are the learnings:

Learning 1: First impressions matter

I noted two things when I went into a restaurant:

  1. The door wasn't open, but I needed to ring the doorbell to get in - When got in there were two people saying welcome to me. The other one took my jacket and their other one showed me around - Straight away a feeling of high quality of the service.
  2. When the person walked me to the table we walked past the kitchen, and he introduced me to chefs: "This is Samuli all the way from Finland" --> This created a very personal experience.

I think the main learning for me in our own business is: First impressions matter, and we have many of those.

If we are having a sales call with a customer --> How to make sure the beginning is personalized or if we have a kick-off with our customers how it starts?

Learning 2: Small details create the experience

If we compare good & excellent restaurants, the difference is quite small. In the beginning, I noticed a few small details that got my attention:

  1. The ice in my drink had a carving of the restaurant's name
  2. The first spoon I got was made from wood & felt special
  3. The waiter asked what got me to Copenhagen

If we compare recruitment agencies, most of them are quite similar - I believe that it's the small things that matter:

  1. How we make better documentation of the profile definition?
  2. How the contract signing a bit easier & branded when working with us
  3. How does our weekly message make sure that customers know how things are moving forward?

Learning 3: Internal communication is the key

I think this is something that most restaurants are not doing. When I talked with my first waiter, we discusses a few things:

  1. I was at a business conference in Malmö
  2. I used to work as a chef before

Later during the night:

  1. One waiter asked what conference I participated
  2. One chef asked where I used to work as a chef

I think this is a typical challenge in our kind of business & something we have been trying to improve. Let's take an example:

I have sold talent acquisition as a service to one new customer, and then we start the cooperation, and our team has the kick-off with them. During the kick-off, they ask: "What's your current ARR?" --> If I have asked the same question during the sales, but I haven't communicated it to our team, a customer might feel that our communication isn't working.

We want to get this to a level where in our kick-off, we can ask: "So Samuli shared that your current ARR is 1,5m€ --> What kind of growth goals do you have for that in the upcoming 12 months?"

Learning 4: "Eat it with your hands & try to eat it with one bite."

The learning here is to guide the customer and tell them exactly what you need.

I got this delicious bread + dried strawberry + air-dried ham --> The chef told me how to eat it + explained why.

I think the combination of why + how is the key here.

Typically your customers don't know this.

Let me give you one example of how we could do this better:

We produce a lot of content for our customers to build their employer branding & we often ask that who we should interview for that content.

The key here is first to tell them why we are doing this:

  1. We want to make sure that potential employees can understand what it's like to work in your company and why others in similar roles have decided to join the company.
  2. How --> Tell exactly what kind of person you want to interview & from what kind of angle --> Way better to get the right person and better end result.

Learning 5: Great stories sell

Not sure if you have ever visited some fine dining restaurants, but they tell a lot of cool stories there. Let's take an example of this one wine I had with one of the dishes.

It was named: "After the Storm" (but in Italian, and can't remember what it was).

The waiter shared a story of how one time the vineyard had a big storm, and it ruined around 80% of the grapes. The 20% that was left was collected, and this wine was made from those.

I wouldn't remember this wine without the story. Stories sell.

I would say that we are quite successful used stories at TalentBee, but we should be doing way more of that one --> Especially when sharing why our customers should do something.

Learning 6: I got a normal spoon & I was disappointed

It was around the 5th course.

All the cutleries before were wooden or special in some other way.

Then I got a normal spoon, and I was a bit disappointed.

And now you are thinking, "Disappointed by a spoon?" --> Yeah, I know, stupid.

But I was used to getting something special all the time --> Once it came back to normal, I wasn't happy.

I think the main learning there is that if you are over-serving your customers and then you come back to a good level, they might be a bit disappointed.

The question here is: Should you over-serve your customers? Tell me what you think!

Learning 7: Smoked salmon was prepared in front of me.

I had a delicious dish of smoked salmon, onion & butter sauce.

Or was it delicious, or was it because it was created in front of me?

The chef came to my table and prepared the whole dish in front of me.

I think that made the dish more delicious.

Seeing what it takes to prepare a dish like that.

I think this is important when running a business --> Most of the time, customers don't know the effort that goes into something --> I think you should be sharing these kinds of things with customers, even more, --> This teaches the customers to value these things even more.

I think that, e.g., our customers think that some things take way less time than they take.

Learning 8: Expensive dinner = great dinner

I realized during the dinner that pricing affects much of what I think about the food.

Would I think that the food is great if the menu would have been only 100€?

To be honest, I'm not sure, but when people pay a lot for something, they typically value it more.

When you pay 795€ for dinner, your mind tricks you to find the good things about every dish & wine.

I think we should increase our prices at TalentBee and focus on working with customers who value talent acquisition (luckily, our customers do so), but I think this is important to keep in mind in the future as well.

Learning 9: "You cannot see it, but it's under the caviar."

This dish was great, and the presentation was interesting.

Something was under the caviar, but you couldn't see it, so the chef said you would taste it.

This is great learning to share with customers what they cannot see.

Let's take an example from recruitment marketing:

The customer might only see that there weren't any applications from the paid advertising based on data, but when we go deeper, we might notice that:

  1. The person who we reached out to on LinkedIn had seen the marketing before
  2. Someone had applied because their friend had seen the ad and referred to their friend

Learning 10: Exit plan: They order a taxi for me.

They know that in the end, there is time to leave and handle the exit in a smart matter.

I think most companies don't realize this.

You should own the fact that at some point, the customer might leave --> If you can create a good experience on this, they will come back someday and reference to their friends.

Note to me: When our first customer decides to leave TalentBee --> We need to build a clear off-boarding process and really create a good experience. Luckily no one has decided to do so yet 🙌