In this episode, Mark Kinsley returns to co-host alongside Adrienne as they discuss Adrienne’s most recent read of the book, “Unreasonable Hospitality” by Will Guidara. Never heard of it? It’s book you can’t afford to not to read.
The premise of the book is the remarkable art of giving your customers more than they expect, and while the author’s focus is on his rise to the top in making his restaurant (Eleven Madison Park) the number one restaurant in the world, the principles can apply to any service, client-focused industry.
Listen or watch to learn about the innovative ways he created bespoke experiences for the patrons of Eleven Madison Park, and Kinsley weighs in on what unreasonable hospitality looks like in a mattress retail environment.
Mark Kinsley: You need to be completely unreasonable, even selfish when it comes to servicing your customers. Adrian’s got the top lessons from the business book, unreasonable Hospitality and the fan marketing show begins right now.
Yo, Adrian, what’s up?
Adrienne Woods: Welcome back Mr. Kinsley. It’s been
Mark Kinsley: a hot. Yeah, yeah. I mean Vegas and then Nashville, and then back to Vegas and stuck in two places for multiple days due to ice storms. Crazy times.
Adrienne Woods: I forgot that you were gone, like y’all were delayed like three days in coming back, if I remember correctly.
Mark Kinsley: Yeah, 77% of the flights through DFW were canceled due to those Midwest ice storms, and we were caught in that snarl. Luckily, in Vegas, I always say, Hey, just live life. Life as if everything is rigged in your favor, and I missed the brunt of the ice storms and got to stay in sunny Vegas, so not too bad.
Adrienne Woods: That’s fantastic. Uh, you missed my son. My, you know, my two year old Finley. My in-laws were very gracious, and by Thursday they came over and they were like, Hey, why don’t you and Jonathan, we could get out by that point. Go to dinner. We’ll watch the kids. Well, they took them sledding. The difference between sledding on ice and sledding on snow is a lot.
And so he has this massive gash over his eyebrow. I mean, and like they had to glue it back together. It was gnarly looking for the time being, but it was also one of those we’d been stuck inside for a hundred and however many hours at that point. And I was like, do we need to come home? Are you good? Okay, we’re not.
So it was fine.
Mark Kinsley: kids are gonna get gashes. I mean, hey, I’m, I’m an. I took my nieces and nephews ice skating, and my nephew went down reverse snow angel straight onto the, onto the ice when we were ice skating. And I was like, oh, that’s a pretty good fall. It looked like he was okay, and then a giant gash in his chin.
And it was during Covid and I had to take him in to get his face stitched up. It was just chin and, uh, they did, they did the glue thing, so they had the nurse and the doctor and they were both holding his chin together and gluing it. And they they finished up and walked out and I, I looked, I said, raise your chin up, let me.
And I was like, I called the doctor back in. I was like, if I cut, if I bring this boy looking back, come look looking like this to his. They’re gonna kill me. I will never watch my nephew again. . Yeah. I was like, you gotta do something different here. She’s like, oh yeah, that doesn’t look good. Let’s stitch it up instead.
So, yeah. Yeah. Uncle of the year award.
Adrienne Woods: Hey, and hey, I know you can’t see it on video, but I have a nice scar right here. When I was roller skating when I was eight years old, busted my chin wide open, got seven stitches, and the doctor asked me if I wanted eight. So you can’t see it now cause I got makeup on it and it has faded over time, but it’s amazing to me how much facial scars.
Obviously scar your face like they did 20
Mark Kinsley: plus years ago. Oh yeah. They got ways around that. Hey, you got anybody that’s got any good facial scar, uh, stories? Hit us up on LinkedIn and uh, and share it in the comments on this post. Yes. We, we’d love to hear from you because we know that, you know, stuff happens.
It just does. Hey, speaking of stuff happening, let’s make a trivia question happen.
Adrienne Woods: I’ve got a trivia question for you. Okay. All right, let’s go. It was almost okay. It’s kind of prophetic now, knowing what we know. But I’m not gonna give you hints cuz I couldn’t come up with any like options for this. But in 2007, what device was announced with the following slogan?
This is only the beginning.
Mark Kinsley: This is only the beginning. Okay. I’m gonna make some guesses, but not yet. We’ll do it at the end of the marketing show. The fan marketing show. Okay. Um, okay, cool. This is only the beginning. I, I’m gonna get my guesses rolling in my brain.
Adrienne Woods: Um, so 2007, just kind of think about that timeframe, what might have been coming out in 2007,
Mark Kinsley: 2007.
This is only the beginning. Mm-hmm. . Love it. You’re gonna love it. Hey, you’ve, you’ve made it from the. Almost to the end now of this book, unreasonable Hospitality, and there are a ton of marketing and business lessons inside of it, and I’ve never seen you so lit up about a book.
Adrienne Woods: Well, and it’s like I said before we started recording, like there are very few books that have just transformed the way that I have thought about stuff and probably because when I go on to explain it, it naturally meshes with my personality.
I love serving people. I love going over the top. I think that’s why your wife Tara, and I get along so well. It’s like what can we do and how can we do it bigger and better? And so this book kind of flows in with that. But if you have not heard of the book, unreasonable Hospitality, my dad recommended it to me a week ago and my dad.
Student of reading, right? So he recommends probably a book a day for me, and 99% of them I just never pick up. But for some reason I had an audible credit and I was like, I’ll just listen to this. And it has been phenomenal. I bought the book and I’ve got the audio version so I can kind of just pick up wherever and whatever mood I’m in.
But it’s basically the art of giving people more than they expect. And so the author was basically a restaurateur in New York. Um, Managed 11 Madison Park and it was in their quest to become the number one restaurant in the world. You’re shaking your head. Do you know of this restaurant?
Mark Kinsley: I do. Yeah. I’ve heard of 11 Madison Park and I can picture it in my mind.
Adrienne Woods: Okay. Have you ever eaten there? I have not. Okay. So this whole book was their bequest to become the number one restaurant in New York City and how they did it basically, and it is just chalk full of principles, things that you can apply and just the things that they did that you’re just sitting here and you’re like, that is completely unreasonable.
That’s complete. Like how did you get people to buy into this? And that’s the big part of it, right? We can go out and we can create all these like really great experiences for people, but you actually have to have the personnel. Bought into your vision to be able to do it. And so I wanted to just kind of talk about a couple of the things and then get your opinion, especially since you’ve been in this industry forever.
I’ve not been in the mattress industry, but I have owned a small business, and so as I’ve gone through this book, I’m like, how could I have done things differently? How could I have made things just so completely unreasonable that would have raised the, the experience of the clients that I used to serve?
Just, and be known for just that. I mean, cuz that’s ultimately how they became what they are. Right? So they, they moved their way up from two stars to three stars, to four stars, to five stars. And I’m hoping at the end of the book they have become the number one restaurant. But that’s what I mean. I haven’t even finished the book, but I’m like, we have to talk about this cuz this is a great topic.
Um, but one of the things, and I was kind of chatting about this with Quinn the other day that just kind of blew my mind is he said, you know, it doesn’t, it’s not that hard to give people. More than they expect. So for an example, after they had won their fourth uh, Michelin star, they,
Mark Kinsley: so, so they got, they, so there are one, two, and three star restaurants.
So you’re saying they re retained a, a one star for the fourth time.
Adrienne Woods: I’m sorry, they got the New York Times fourth Star. So you know that New York Times is out of five.
Mark Kinsley: Oh times not, not Michelin. Okay, gotcha. Yeah, they
Adrienne Woods: do. They do have a Michelin star, and I think if I’m recalling the book correctly, they’ve gotten their second one at this point.
So two stars for
Mark Kinsley: that. So this is the New York Times
Adrienne Woods: rating of restaurants. Okay. New York Times rating of the restaurant. So they’ve just gotten their fourth star from the New York Times and he said that they had this, um, Set of guests come in, it was their last restaurant. They were from Europe, it was their last restaurant stop in New York City on their way to the airport.
And he’s like, I love when people bring in their luggage to the restaurant. He’s like, because that either means that they’ve just gotten here and you were their first choice to stop at, or you are the last experience that they’re gonna have and you can just make the experience for them. And he said, I was busing tables.
He’s like, I managed the restaurant. And he’s like, I fully believe that even if you’re at the top, you need to do every single part of the restaurant. and do it, like don’t just phone it in, but like actually. As a server work as you know, in the kitchen. So he was busing tables and he overheard this table talking about how they had experienced all these different culinary adventures since they’d been in New York City.
But the one thing that they hadn’t done was eat a street hotdog. And he’s like, you know, cause everybody talks about New York and getting a hot dog at the cart. And so he said while they were like doing their courses over lunch, so they were here for a lunch. He goes down to the cart that’s nearest to their restaurant, buys a street, dog, comes back and asks the chef to plate it.
And of course the chef looks at him like, you have lost your ever-loving mind. And he said, but he whipped it up, you know, put it on this really beautiful bed of sauerkraut, threw some mustard on it, threw some ketchup on it. And he said, we, he goes, I went out to the table and I said, I overheard what you were saying.
And he’s like, I don’t want you to leave. Any culinary, um, anything on the table, I don’t want you to have any culinary regrets, is what he called it. And they deliver in four equal parts. This hot dog that he had just gone down for, and he said they raved. About what he had done and it cost him like a dollar 25 to go down, get this hot dog and bring it back and actually deliver this experience.
And he said, you know, people approach hospitality, people approach service as this one size fits all. But he goes, it’s not service is one size fits one. In order to just surprise and delight being a, a term that you and Quinn use often. He goes, you have to make every experience unique and how do you scale that?
He said, you know, he talked about a restaurant that he had worked in as an intern and he said they had a regular, and the owner one time was like, we’re going to custom make a chair for this regular. So every time they come in, we are going to pull out this chair because that’s their favorite. and he goes, those are unreasonable things to do.
He goes, now you can’t scale a chair, right? You can’t know that every single person who comes in. You know, have a spec special chair for them, but you can do that for a dollar 25 hotdog. Um, he talked about how they would just hear people come in, you know, talking about favorite movies that they had seen that they had forgotten about.
And he said, we kept a running collection of DVDs in the back and we would bring them their check with a dvd. This is like 2010 timeframe, right? He goes, that just overwhelms people when you like, have been hearing about what they’ve been talking about, and you bring the D v D that they’ve been talking about out to them with their, be with their.
Mark Kinsley: love
Adrienne Woods: it. I know just things that blow your mind. And he was talking about this morning, I was listening to it and he said, you know, you want to, there’s this fine line between wanting to make people feel very welcome and like they, you have brought them into your home, but there’s also the harsh reality of the bill.
which I kind of likened back to our industry. You can give somebody a wonderful experience and if you ruin it right there at the end and they like, and now you owe us $3,000 for your mattress or whatever you’ve purchased it, you can break the entire experience there at the end. And he said, what we ended up doing is he goes, we never wanted them to have to ask for the bill, but we also didn’t wanna give it to them before they were ready.
And so they had to re-channel, like how, how would something like this evolve naturally in a home? And he said, what we ended up doing is we would come and we would lay the bill on the table and we would also lay a full bottle of cognac on the table with, with cups and say, Hey, feel free to help yourself compliments on us.
And he goes, what we found is in that point, he goes, um, a large amount of people are not going to. Take multiple rounds of cognac, if you will, because they’ve just had either multiple bottles of wine. Sometimes they started with a cocktail and he goes, but then there was no pressure that they felt to leave because who delivers an entire bottle of alcohol?
and says, you know, help yourself to it and expects you to like also pay and walk out the door right then. And he said those were just, those were just small examples and I could list off 10 more that I had written down. But he goes, those are just ways that you deliver unreasonable hospitality. So I’d love to know your thoughts on something like this and how you think we could apply something like that.
Mark Kinsley: Well, the first thing that comes to mind is how proud I I was and how inspired I was by you and Tara during Dream Camp, um, because these moments happened and you two made them happen. For example, somebody had mentioned randomly just I, I want some of that banana bread from this. Little store down in Bentonville and then everything moved on and like a couple hours later, the banana, banana bread showed up and they’re like, what?
Like, how’s this happening? . And then I remember, uh, Matt Smith came across this piece of artwork and Matt Smith was snooze, came across this piece of artwork that he felt like it summed up the weekend. It was this like crazy picture and this all this wild stuff was going on. And he’s like, I really. He’s like, it’d be really cool if I had like a white pen.
Everybody could sign it. And then he moved on and didn’t think anything about it. And then the next thing you know, one of those white pens where you can write on wood shows up and he has everybody sign this, this frame. And he took home that memento. And so it, it just, it just shows you that it’s more about listening.
And taking action. And it’s so hard, I think, for a lot of people to truly listen. You know, I heard, uh, our buddy Doug one time say, a lot of times people aren’t listening. They’re reloading. Mm. Like, they’re just wait, they’re, they’re waiting to speak, they’re reloading. Um, and if you develop a culture of listening and taking action on what you hear, , that’s when surprise and delight can scale because then you have all the people doing all the things for all of your guests.
Mm-hmm. . And that’s what inspires me. I’m like, if you could figure that out and you can reward people for stories instead of sales mm-hmm. , then that might be a way to nudge it forward. And I got that, that idea from, uh, Jesse Cole. And Jesse Cole is the Savannah Bananas guy. Yes. Um, who’s been on the podcast, uh, years ago, and he said that, um, there’s a place called the Magic Castle Hotel in Southern California and they, they literally reward people like actual money for stories, and they figured out a, a system and a process for doing that.
But, you know, they were talking about this couple that came in to the hotel and they were there to see everything. Marilyn Monroe, like they were super fans of Marilyn. And they were telling the front desk people about that. And so they went out to like see her grave and see the places where she’d film movies and some different things like that.
They come back into their hotel, they closed the door, and on the back of the door there was a poster of Marilyn and Monroe. And they had written in like a thought bubble. Thank you for coming out to see me today. It’s, you know, stuff like that. And so these people had this amazing moment and then the employees had a story Yeah.
They could share that inspired the culture they wanted to create, and they actually got rewarded for that.
Adrienne Woods: I think that, I mean, stuff like that just blows your mind. I mean, he talks about, um, in the book, he talks about how there was a family one time that came in. It was like, like three couples that had come in and they were talking about their kids losing teeth.
And just like everything that goes in with that, and I don’t know if you’re familiar, but when you lose your teeth, you’re supposed to get like, A dollar or a quarter or whatever the current going rate is. So all that servers started doing is every time somebody would get up to go to the restroom, they would put a quarter underneath their napkin.
So when they would come back and pick up their napkin, there’s a quarter, and this went on throughout the night. I mean, just little things that like make a moment for someone and just the way in which that they went about doing something like this, one of his big points. I just want, I thought was so interesting, and I’ll give you the example he used is he goes, you sometimes have to come up with conflicting goals.
And he used Southwest Airlines as the example. He’s like, they set out to be the lowest priced airline. But also be the highest in CU customer and employee satisfaction. Those two things are conflicting goals because usually if you wanna be the highest, you probably have to pay the most and that costs more money.
So how can you be the lowest priced airline, but also be the highest in customer satisfaction for not only your. You know, clients, but also for the employees that work there. And he said, but it, that’s unreasonable. He goes, you have to set conflicting goals in order to be unreasonable. And I’m like, that’s just really good.
And so I, like I said, I owned a small business and I was thinking this morning, I thought, what could I have done that would’ve just been so outrageous that people are like, what are you doing? Um, you know, I owned a spin studio. Have you ever been on a spin bike? Many times. Yeah. Okay. So you know that oftentimes you have to adjust your seat and you adjust, you know, the handlebars and everything like that when you sit down.
Well, while I was there, one of the, um, features that we changed was the ability to pre-book your bike. So if there’s a spot in the room that you really like, when you would go to book your class, you would book your spot. Something unreasonable would’ve been figuring out at the end of each class where they like their handlebars and their.
And pre adjusting that for them when they sit down, it would’ve taken some work, but not that much more work. And what about the experience that you literally just walk in and you’re ready to go? There’s nothing that you have to physically do. I mean, just little things like that. And so when you’re selling a mattress, I’m like, what do you do for that customer that just takes it to the next level that it’s like nobody does this.
I’d go here just for the experience, even if it costs me a little bit more because I just love coming.
Mark Kinsley: I remember when Harry Robertson and the, and the crew from Mattress Firm, the, the OGs, uh, own the business. They would roll out the red carpet and literally across the threshold of your doorway, they would roll out a red carpet when the delivery team came in.
And of course, that symbolizes v i p service. Mm-hmm. and cleaning your feet. And it just was a magical little moment that they. And hey, I’d love to hear from anybody out there that has stories. We’re, we’re gonna, we’ll figure out a way to reward you for your story of unreasonable hospitality, cuz these are absolute gems of moments.
And it takes thought. It takes listening. True listening, which is difficult. Mm-hmm. . And then applying those ideas in the moment. I love that idea. You said about free ride too, like adjusting the bike. Yeah. You know, keep a customer profile. And whenever that person’s coming in, you’ve got, you know, you go ahead, you know, after they finish up their ride, you sneak in there and you look at all the mm-hmm.
because they market with numbers on the bike. Boom, write it down. And then they come in and say, Hey, uh, hey Jill, we adjusted your bike to your preferences. It’s all ready for
Adrienne Woods: you to go. It’s ready for you to go. I mean, just little things. So we had, I mean we had their shoe number in there so that when they walked in we’d be like, here’s your, you know, your size 10 or your size eight shoe, or whatever it was.
And I think people thought that was neat to be like, oh, I didn’t even have to tell them. Like, they just know my shoe. But how much more so would it of an impact would it have been to be like, your bike is literally ready to go. Seats been adjusted, handle bars are adjusted. Here you go. And I’m sure given time I could think of 10 more things that been like, that would’ve been something else I could have done to take it to the next level.
But we’re outta time and I don’t, I don’t wanna, you know, take up any more.
Mark Kinsley: I, I wanna, I want to, I wanna leave us with this before we do finalize a trivia question. Okay. What you said about the bottle of cognac, that is a really subtle adjustment with a huge impact. Yep. And so I want you to think about your business and I wanna thank you.
I want you to think about that moment whenever you actually. To the desk with your client to finalize the sale. Because what happens is you sit down a lot of times at that desk as a, you know, mattress store, furniture store, and the person on the other side is looking at the person that’s been helping them stare at a computer screen.
Mm-hmm. , what could you do in that moment? That’s the equivalent of setting a bottle of cognac in front of them with a couple of glasses and saying, enjoy, help yourself. Um, As opposed to, here’s your bill, now it’s a transaction. How do you keep that moment and that that momentum moving forward in a positive way?
You, Adrian, you and I are gonna have to brainstorm on that. Okay? If you have ideas, drop us a note. We’re on all the socials. You can contact us through the website fam.news. All right. Tribute question time.
Adrienne Woods: Okay, so what device in 2007 was announced with the following slogan? This is only the beginning.
Mark Kinsley: Is it the iPhone?
Did you cheat? No, I I had it. Yes. It’s the iPhone. How did you, did
Adrienne Woods: you know, how did you know that? Yes, it was the iPhone debut 2007 slogan was, this is only the beginning I, and it was Kinsley and it was only the be See what I mean by prophetic? I mean, it just kind of was, it was only the beginning.
Mark Kinsley: Well, hey, we hope this is the only, the beginning of the lessons that we get to learn from this book, unreasonable Hospitality.
I think we should maybe come back whenever you’ve absorbed it all and you have new ideas and do another marketing show. And that’s the thing about this is marketing, because these are the word of mouth moments that we’re trying to create. And if you can do that, you can spend less on marketing and we want you to be able to spend less.
And have a big impact. So, um, thanks for tuning in as always. Uh, and speaking of the iPhone, I’m getting a spammy call. Who gets ? Help me fix that. Okay. Um, head over to fam.news and share any ideas you have. Please subscribe. Please share this with friends. Please share this with your entire company so that you can create a culture that makes magic in your marketing.
Adrienne Woods: I love it. Makes you unreasonable.
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