In the food and beverage industry providing excellent customer service is one of the key differentiating factors to ensure success of your company. Along with providing excellent food, the customer wants a memorable experience that they will share with their friends and family. I recently had the opportunity to interview a close friend, Alexandra Cappucci, who is the current General Manager for the South Reno Great Full Gardens location.
We talked a little about her background, as she is a fellow graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno. Alex has lived in Reno, Nevada for the past ten years and began working for the Midtown location of Great Full Gardens in August of 2013. She started as a server, and held this position for about six months, before transitioning into a management role. She transferred and became the General Manager for the new South Reno location which opened in October of 2016.
I asked her a little bit about what her thoughts were for the locations goals and mission. Her personal mission for the company is to, “create a restaurant concept where everyone feels safe and welcome, no matter their dietary preferences.” She discussed how many people create relationships over food. It is a place to have food and drinks with family and friends.
One thing that differentiates Great Full Gardens from other restaurants are the diverse food options they provide which increases the customers satisfaction. Alex discussed how you can bring an entire family to eat, while everyone is able to find something that aligns with their dietary preference, whether they are vegan, vegetarian, or a meat lover. They can all share the experience together and leave happy and full.
One of Alex’s personal experiences with the restaurant that she enjoys the most is serving kids who may have a dietary allergy. They can come and feel welcome and enjoy foods with their friends and family and feel as though they are part of the group. They have had kids come in and celebrate their birthdays with friends and have the ability to feel like a kid, while finding food options that they can actually eat and enjoy. She enjoys making a healthy impact on children, while also providing them with an amazing experience.
In order to follow through on the customer service side of the business I asked Alex about some of the training that goes into creating the awesome culture they have. She discussed one of the main focuses is initially finding employees with the right fit. Having someone memorize a menu or work a computer is easy, but it takes certain individuals to fit with the culture and connect with the guest.
Great Full Gardens calls the hiring process an “audition.” The audition process lasts 3-4 hours, where the applicant can see what goes on behind the scenes, and how the team works. They can see the chemistry the employees have with the customer. This is a mutual decision where both the restaurant and applicant need to mutually decide if it is a good fit, which furthers the strong culture of the company.
Once completing the audition the new hire undergoes training of every position, and completes modules. There is a lot expected of employees, where they have to study and complete a test before working on the floor by themselves. Modules allow the team to be prepared and also allow the guest to feel safe and welcome. Employees need to be extremely knowledgeable about the foods being prepared and served. Being aware of what items are gluten, dairy free, paleo, or affect allergies to name a few are helpful to the customer. Many customers with different dietary restrictions and allergies can all find something to eat and enjoy on the menu.
Great Full Gardens is an amazing local restaurant, and talking to Alex gave a better sense of how they are able to provide such an amazing experience for their guests, along with continuing their strong culture. Next time you’re in the Reno area, make sure to make a stop by Great Full Gardens, you won’t be disappointed!
Starting a business is never easy, and establishing your customer service platform can be difficult. Finding the right way to earn your customers trust and grow your business is unique to every startup and I had the opportunity to interview fellow University of Nevada, Reno graduate and one of my closest friends Jaclyn Dunt, about her business she started in November 2014, Free Flow Equine Services.
Here is a little bit about her journey into starting her own business:
“I first learned about the business while I was competitively riding as a junior and working at a show jumping barn. Molly Wells, the pioneer of the Acuscope industry, frequently treated horses at the barn I worked at and I witnessed firsthand the amazing results. I chose to do my Senior Project in high school on Acuscope Therapy, which entailed over 200 hours of shadowing. I really enjoyed helping the horses and seeing how well the Acuscope worked to keep their bodies performing at such a high level.
After high school, I went to UNR Business School, keeping in mind that I wanted a broad degree that would allow me to continue working as a professional in the horse industry. I chose Business Management with minor in Sociology. I enjoyed attending UNR, especially in the business school where the students are all very close and frequently work together on projects.
After graduating and traveling for a few months, I contacted Molly Wells again and signed up to become a certified therapist. It is an intensive 3 week course, focusing on anatomy and bio mechanics of moment. Working with Molly and another student towards these goals was definitely intense – as was the final exam. When I passed my exam and began my own LLC, I loved the flexibility of the job and the sense of accomplishment I felt at the end of every day.”
Beginning a business is just the first step, so we discussed a little more in detail about how she finds her customers and provides a great experience for them. Here is a little about her take on gaining customers:
“Word of mouth and reputation are crucial. It is important to have customers that refer you to other clients, especially in the Reno area. Also building a company brand name that people recommend and remember has been helpful. There are a few other therapists in the area, so it is important to go above and beyond for your clients in order to promote your brand.”
In order to gain more clients she discussed the importance of referrals and word of mouth as the platform she has used to build her business. She has tried flyers and posters, but it doesn’t compare to her word of mouth reputation. She also networks at events and makes sure to meet with people face to face. Attending horse shows is another way she gains potential customers, because there are many trainers and owners in one place, who are all passionate about the industry.
Finally, we discussed a little bit about where she is at in her business currently and some of her future goals. At the moment the company is hosted through Facebook and the company website: freeflowequine.com. Her client base consists of 16 customers located in the Northern Nevada and Central/Southern California areas. She recently moved to Santa Barbara, California where she is planning to continue and hopefully expand her customer base.
Check out her Facebook, website, and LinkedIn for more information!
Photo Credit: Jaclyn Dunt