02 Mar, 2011
by Julie Ferris
I’ve been skulking around the Pfister for some time now. While I always meet great travelers, the reason I’m able to engage such happy, amenable, excited people is because of the seamless service that surrounds them. My job isn’t to write about the staff, but the staff are the best kept secret at the Pfister.
When they’ve done their job well, you don’t even notice. Which is why perhaps my first question when I heard the café was closing for renovations was “what happens to the staff?” I find it worth noting that management at the hotel made a point to consider what it would mean to wait staff if they couldn’t work for six weeks. Shutting down the café was required, but shutting down the quiet magic that satisfies guests wasn’t.
The relocation to the Rouge Room meant that servers kept their hours just as much as it meant I kept my oatmeal and morning routines. In this particular moment in our culture where “the economy” and “jobs” are key words in any conversation, relocating staff rather than putting them on hold is quite notable.
But it’s not just how easy the hotel makes it for staff to feel appreciated that makes it so fun to skulk the hallowed halls of this historic hotel. It’s how well they’ve married technology to history that helps us recognize that the Pfister is paying attention in more ways than one. While at Mason Street Grill tonight, a guest was wooing a woman. Whether they were business partners, old friends reuniting or a second date, I saw the ace up his sleeve long before she did, but it didn’t make the reveal any less impressive.
“Well, do you want to eat?” he said, as they finished their cocktails. “Sure, where? We probably need a reservation to eat here,” she said.
“Yup, but I have one.” Boom. Card on the table, victory in hand.
He revealed that he just hopped online today during a dull meeting (let’s hope his boss isn’t reading) and noticed he could reserve a seat online and just did, hoping she’d like to join him.
An age-old tradition—wooing your date, paired with a modern convention—online reservations at the drop of a mouse–and here’s the secret marrying of great, invisible service setting the stage for (here’s hoping for you, man) great customer experiences.
Now that I’ve seen the cushy chairs and the heard the tales of days gone by, I’m ready to indulge in the complexities of what keeps history contemporary and service exceptional at the Pfister.