A recipe for success, "Consistency is Key!", but leave room for creativity...
Standard operating procedures (SOP's), along with recipes, are in place for a reason. To ensure your customers consistently get the same product, or service, you want them to, every time they visit. Recipes, like SOP's, help take the guess-work out of a job. More importantly, they help you run your business when you are not there! Having standards and recipes in place, food costs as well as your reputation are maintained, but are they seen as restrictions to creativity?
Creativity, within set parameters, is a good thing and should be encouraged. Great customer service is personalized, unique and tailored to each guest. Encourage this creativity, and inspire your staff to create memorable experiences for your guests.
Letting your guests know this, keeping them 'in the loop' is equally as important. Telling a customer or guest that you have created something unique and special, just for them, lets them know, it is unique. It will also make them feel special. You have taken care of and hopefully exceeded your guests expectations, but also, let them know where it came from. If a customer thinks a personalized product is standard, they will be disappointed when they can not get the same experience on a future visit.
Following this up with written documentation of such an event, details are then recorded for posterity and future reference. Your staff will be proud of their work and inspired to create more for your customers! Keeping notes on frequent customers and special needs will help ensure repeat visits are met with anticipation, and consistency!
A recipe for success!