Restaurant - Incredible Customer Service

Starship Galley

Imagine taking a new girl friend or a business associate to a restaurant, both very common activities toward two very different goals! As you stroll down a darkened entryway (or after you have waited in line in that entryway), you turn a corner and confront a robot-like creature, very similar to the robot in the TV series "Lost In Space." A computer monitor is in the robot's chest. As you approach, the robot politely asks your name. You say "Bill Wireling" (your name), and a moment later, a menu shows up on that monitor in his chest. As it happens, the last time there, you had ordered a Porterhouse steak, medium well done, with mushrooms on the side, a salad with Thousand Island dressing, Iced tea with lemon and sugar, no salt, etc.

The computer monitor now shows the "Special of the House", with that EXACT meal description, with the prominent title "Steak a la Wireling". Your companion HAS to be impressed! Maybe you are a more important person than was first perceived. After all, how important does a person have to be before a restaurant names a meal after him? Now, when the robot asks if you again want the Specialty of the House, you can just casually say yes!

This concept was invented and developed in early 1984. This presentation was first placed on the Internet in June 1999.

Since that meal is exactly what you had ordered last time, and most humans are very predictable, there is a pretty good chance that you will want the "Specialty of the House." Of course, you could tell the robot, "Maybe not. I think I'll look at a menu." and things would also proceed with you looking VERY important!

Of course, after you have passed, and the robot asks the next person in line, the "Special of the House" then becomes "Chicken Watterson"!

It gets better!

The computer file that had stored your previous meal's description also included a number of other things. Before the Hostess leads you to a table, she has seen your file, and notes that you like informality, you have a sense of humor, you have a favorite nickname 'Spike', and you are an outgoing sort of person. She also certainly notes that you left a GIANT 30% tip last time you visited! What sort of Service do you think you could now expect? Even if you had never even SEEN HER before! As she greets you, she might say "Hi, Spike, how ya doin'?" even though she has personally never seen you before! The same thing would apply to the waitress who will serve you. Whether you want strict, quiet service, and being called 'MISTER' Wireling, or casual service and being called Spike, that waitress will treat you appropriately, again, even if she has never seen you before.

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Equally important, both to her and you, she has seen what tip you left LAST TIME, and she definitely noticed that you had left 30%! I think you can be assured that you are going to get awesome service this time! (If you had left 3% last time, well, be ready to duck!)

Now, that computer file you had filled out at your earlier visit could also include MANY small details. If you have a female companion with you, maybe you want very regular attentiveness on the part of the waitress and others, instantly refilling water glasses or providing condiments and other matters. On the other hand, you may not feel the need to impress her so totally, and might rather seldom be bothered by the waitress, so intimacy could grow. If your previous visit included your leaving a note that you would like ANY FEMALE companions to receive a ROSE in a VASE (which you will obviously be charged for!) Whatever your intent, the restaurant staff would assist. (ESPECIALLY if you had left a really big tip last time!)

If your doctor has you on a salt-free diet, or you are lactose intolerant, or you have other special dietary needs, no special conversation needs to break the mood of the moment to discuss such things. The "Special of the House" already includes all the right details!

For the business lunch setting, you may have specified very different parameters. In a mode of impressing your guests, you could have all the staff refer to you as "Mister Wireling" and always act extremely military and professional. You may have prepared the staff to be especially attentive to your guests' drinks or to even bring a long-stem rose to the one matron in your guests.

Basically, you, as the patron, have the opportunity to almost "write the script" as to how your restaurant experience will proceed. In the Starship Galley, we intended a light-hearted, happy motif, with quite a number of other features that emphasized that. Our target patron was a college student (from Notre Dame or St. Mary's) or a struggling salesperson, in other words, mostly a burger type restaurant, maybe on the menu level of Denny's. A larger restaurant, with several rooms, or a more elegant restaurant could have different types of music and different motifs and moods in the different rooms, and you could pre-schedule just where you would be seated. After all, you are IMPORTANT, and good restaurants recognize IMPORTANT people and don't have to ask a bunch of mundane questions! They just KNOW that you deserve the BEST!

Can you imagine how pleasant a dining experience you and your guests would have? Where "everyone knows your name" like at the TV "Cheers"? Where you are treated with whatever level of respect and attentiveness that you prefer?

Even more, can you imagine how POPULAR such a restaurant would quickly become? Moreover, how profitable and successful it would immediately be? How long do you think it would have taken for the boys at Notre Dame to learn that the ULTIMATE in a date restaurant had just opened?

In 1984, we came extremely close to building and opening the ultimate in restaurants. The Starship Galley was to be unlike ANY other restaurant! The level of customer service was many levels above any other restaurant, and many other innovations were also involved.

The Public Bond that was to be passed by the city of South Bend, Indiana, was certain to pass as the Fall of 1984 was advancing. At that time, the backers of the project were very close associates with a number of South Bend politicians, and the City was very pleased with our plans, and fully endorsed the location we had chosen in an industrial building on US 20 near Notre Dame University.

As it happens, the election of November 1984 completely changed the leadership of South Bend, as one party replaced the other, almost totally. Our backers had not been very close with the new party, and had actually been rather adversarial with the now new ruling party. For this reason, they never seriously tried to re-apply for the necessary Bond, and our Starship Galley never got built.

Now, over twenty years later, I am surprised that apparently NO restaurant have ever instituted several of our unique approaches! One of the prominent features is the incredible level of personal service indicated in the introduction above. There are many more! In the event that there is someone out there who wants to open a restaurant, and have it a GUARANTEED SUCCESS, maybe we should talk!

I will describe the general set-up of our Starship Galley, but a number of its unique features could be instituted into restaurants with a different theme, so that would not be a limiting factor.

The premise of the Starship Galley was that it was the carcass of a crashed UFO that was bought surplus from the Brazilian government. In the 1960s, there was extremely compelling actual evidence presented about a UFO that seemed to have flying problems in a remote area of Brazil along the Atlantic Ocean far north in the country. Illiterate local people were the only witnesses, but they said they saw a saucer-shaped craft partially explode in flight. The main part of it fell into the Ocean several hundred feet from shore, but some small burning pieces landed on the beach and in the shallow water. The pieces that landed on the beach continued to burn, brilliant white, until they were entirely gone, but some pieces that landed in the shallow water went out, and the villagers retrieved a number of them. (All of this Brazil UFO information is NOT made up, but is actual reported fact of the time.)

This community was so very far from civilization that they did not even have any local police or other authorities. One of the villagers took some of the pieces to a radio station, the only official place he could think of. Eventually, some scientists associated with the government of Brazil picked up the pieces from the radio station. When they did chemical tests on these pieces, they assayed to be more than a hundred times more pure magnesium than any known technology could make. These pieces were eventually given to US government investigators and they have never been seen again. Later, a government report said that there was nothing unusual with the pieces and that there was no unusual aircraft and no crash. This was an entry in the then Project Blue Book government investigation of UFOs. (All of the above is reasonably likely to have actually have happened, and this description is based on a number of reports of that time. We used to even know the call letters of the radio station!)

After a number of years of the (real life) situation being quiet and forgotten, our restaurant placemats (which would present all of this actual history) would mention that we discovered that Brazil would agree to let us search for it and that they only wanted a very small fee to let us be able to claim it. The largest part of the crashed UFO is now in THIS warehouse, where we had used a helicopter at night to lower it in through the removed building roof. We cut a hole through the fuselage that you walked through to get to your table. The part that was seriously damaged in the crash was cut away and we have the kitchen area there now.

I'm sure you get the point! Our menu was to be pretty standard burger and fries types of things. We had wanted to put blue food coloring in the ketchup and green in the salt, orange in onion rings, and things like that, but FDA authorities would not permit that. In the meantime, we discovered that almost NO ONE wants to eat a burger that has blue ketchup, anyway!

Usually, a restaurant takes a number of months to develop a "following" where it starts to turn a profit. The word about this one would spread like wildfire, and it seems certain that it would be filled to capacity within a week or two! What college guy would NOT want to take a girl to such a place where he is treated as someone important? What business person would NOT want to take clients to such a place, where they would quickly realize that he is a big wheel? The problem would more be of trying to handle unimaginable demand!

As a bonus, the central premise presented above, of a restaurant that provided the ultimate in service, would not be a "flash in the pan." Independent from the "cuteness" aspect of being treated like royalty, most restaurant goers would certainly become loyal and regular customers where their uniquenesses are smoothly dealt with. If you NEVER want butter on your baked potato, you will never see it there. That sort of thing. Unless you are an extremely regular patron of an expensive restaurant, you never now see such service. At the Starship Galley, it would be the norm! Each patron would be treated "Special!" OTHER restaurants should become nervous, because no one would ever want to go back there, because they were so "spoiled" by the Starship Galley!

I am the person who first created and developed the concept of Starship Galley. I created this web page presentation because I feel there are millions of restaurant goers who would JUMP at the chance to go to such a unique place for a meal. A number of additional features of the Starship Galley would add to the "fun" of the experience, but I felt that just the central premise should be enough initial description for now.

There are many thousands of new restaurants that open each year. Unfortunately, most tend to fail and close in just a year or two from not having enough business. My thoughts are that, eventually, one of those upcoming restaurant projects might have interest in my approach. Even from just this brief presentation, I am sure you can see why such a place would be incredibly popular. So, if you're interested in blending my unique approaches into an upcoming restaurant, please e-mail me (below) and we can talk.

I first created this concept in early 1984, and almost built it later in that year. This presentation was first placed on the Internet in June 1999.

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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from University of Chicago