Lessons on the right formula to win with customers.

By Amber Hudson

There’s a lunch restaurant in our building that defies all logic.  Peek in the window and you’ll hardly be drawn in by the atmosphere.  There’s little chance you’ll figure what type of food it serves:  it’s called La Tazza (from a previous owner), but among the varied menu of chili fish, Shepherd’s pie and lentil soup, the lasagne is the only nod to the mother land.  And the method in serving customers makes no sense.  It’s one line but really two; you have to know the process, Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi style.

Yet every day busy office workers are happy to add to a line that’s already winding out the door and down the hall.  In an effort to understand what’s going on I conducted a survey of my coworkers.  Here’s a little insight into the magic of La Tazza:

The place is run by the de facto “Mayor of the Building” Sandroo; a really nice guy who remembers your name and your order; even that of a co-worker just back from mat leave.  He doesn’t miss a beat.  Erika at the cash is kind and also blessed with an impressive memory.  Lunchtime is bonkers busy yet the full team hums with military precision, everyone manning their stations to get you out the door happy.

The food is excellent (note the image above) – honest, healthy, real food.  There’s no skimping on veggies and protein here.  And a main draw is the seemingly limitless customization.  Want some mushrooms and bacon?  Sandroo will disappear to the back and reappear with your mushrooms and bacon. 

Wrapped up in all this is a great value:  the huge wraps double as a pillow for between-meeting naps.

And here’s the kicker.  The line is actually a good thing!  In our meeting-packed, deadline-pressured lives spending a few moments in line to catch up with each other or just to take a few calming breaths is welcome.

Sandroo has clearly found the right formula:price formulaDid he bother with changing the name and the furniture?  Nah, what’s the point.  Instead, Sandroo focused on the reason people go there:  a distinct and amazing product, great value and personalized service. 

In a world of big ‘fast’ food chains (which we still love) it’s nice to also be able to support the little guy.