3 Ways to Deliver Unreasonable Hospitality at Your Offices

By Jonathan Vanstone-Walker
News • Thoughts
29th June 23

This month I read Will Guidara’s book ‘Unreasonable Hospitality’.

It’s the story of how his restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, in New York was voted the best in the world – on the strength of their next-level service.

It all started when he overheard a customer saying they had never tried a street hotdog – so he rushed out and bought one before serving it on a silver platter. That’s when he realised that giving people unforgettable experiences is the key to outstanding hospitality.

It’s a great read, and these are the main points that can help us in the world of offices:

1. The 95-5 Rule

Seek value on 95% of your costs. Then spend lavishly on the remaining 5%.

The example in the book was a tasting menu where the paired wines were regular or slightly lower cost. Then one course had a Burgundy Grand Cru as a knock-out glass. This is the one that people remembered. It’s much better than making every wine average quality.

Our interpretation of this is tenant gifting.

Each quarter it’s an additional expense, but it’s something tenants appreciate and remember. We don’t spend lavishly, but it’s a nice touch. Plus they get to meet TSP staff in a less formal way and start building a relationship.

2. How you do one thing is how you do everything

The details count.

Things like staff rosters and shared areas are typically forgotten in restaurants. But Guidara made sure that these things looked incredible because of the message it sends to people. He knew that it only took one half-arsed job to make people wonder what else is being missed.

In property management it’s inevitable that things will go wrong. But by paying attention to detail you’ll send the message that mishaps are exceptions, not rules.

An example from TSP is our reporting and design ethos. Staff wear pin badges when on site, we have branded chocolate, and we even developed a bespoke scent for one of our buildings.

People appreciate these things more than you think.

3. Treat staff like guests

How can waiters give outstanding service if they feel unloved and uncared for?

Guidara stressed how important it is to give staff a taste of luxury. For example, if their families were in town and they went to the restaurant – they got full rockstar treatment. They knew what it was like to experience great hospitality.

You should endeavour to give your people the type of environment that we’re all promoting: modern, flexible, safe. How can we expect people to do their best work from a knackered old laptop or ancient inefficient software? Investing in these things is crucial.

Beyond the office environment, I’ve found that the Investors In People and B Corp accreditations are a great way to give back to people. We use these at TSP and it doesn’t mean we’re perfect. But these things help us to improve year-on-year and to continually receive feedback from our team.


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