For those who want to know everything.

V. Mertz

V. Mertz

Omaha, NE

Check Out Their Website: HERE

Key words: Long standing. Cool space. Wine passion and intelligence. Comfy yet classy.

For a good time, (make reservations): Here

This restaurant shift started the same way most do: specking tables, prepping the room, and a line-up led by the manager. But before my shift was finished, I discovererd something this restaurant does that most don’t, but everyone should. They utilize the notes section on Opentable, and wow, what a great idea!

 

I’ve been going through a lot of hair colors and cuts lately. And every time I go to my stylist, she always remembers everything about me! She asks how my tour planning is going, how my husband’s law practice is, and she probably has a note about my foul mouth.

You might be thinking she has a great memory, but she doesn’t. At least, it’s no better than anyone else’s. How do I know? Because hair stylists write everything down about their clients! They take note of hair texture, what is going on in their client’s life, what temperature water they like, etc. They do this so they can take better care of their client the next time they come in, and so the client feels special.

This is exactly what the crew at V. Mertz does for their guests. At the end of every night, every member of the front of house goes into Opentable and write notes about every guest they’ve waited on that night. And why wouldn’t they? Better yet, why aren’t you? Why should a guest’s third visit in a restaurant be treated like their first? It’s not! They deserve to be remembered and their preferences should be known–(regardless of anyone’s memory).

Most restaurants utilize some type of a note system. The difference is, it’s usually the manager or host who is authoring the note. That doesn’t make any sense. Why would the person with the least amount of contact with the guest be the one to write down vital information about the guest?


These are the types of things that the hospitality industry needs to be implementing.

Remember, everyone has an invisible sign around their neck that reads, “make me feel special.” And not being remembered doesn’t make anyone feel special.  Have you ever met someone, again, that you remember, but they don’t remember you?  Ooooo, that feels neat, doesn’t it?!?  Just kidding, it does not feel neat-it feels like shit. The guest experience plays out much the same way.

For a restaurant that offers a five and eight course tasting menu, noting what the guest likes and dislikes just makes sense. For a lot of people, doing the tasting menu is a big deal, it’s not an everyday occurrence for most. Having a server that “remembers” that splurge makes it seem like it was as big of a deal for the restaurant as it was for guest. It also helps Chef because he is the one explaining the course for the tasting menu. (At finer restaurants, the food is always explained upon delivery.) I asked Chef Jon Seymour why he discusses the food at the table when it is typically a responsibility of the server. He says, “I know the food better than anyone else and can explain it; and the thought process behind it.”

 

What about what wine they ordered the last time they were in? Being able to remember that is a beautiful thing.

As far as wine goes, V. Mertz is the place to go in Omaha. V.Mertz has Sommeliers on the service floor. In fact, that’s how Jen began serving at V. Mertz. The manager, Matt, and a fellow server, Chris, were already certified. They knew that Jen, a server at a different restaurant in town, wanted to sit for the exam. “From day one they really gave me amazing tips,” Jen tells me.


Jen was 70% sure she was going to drop out and not try, but because of the support the V. Mertz crew gave her, she took the exam, and passed. “Matt set me up with fake service exams, and acted as my proctor. They helped me through tastings, they said do this, do this, do this. ‘If you can answer advanced questions you’ll breeze through your certified,’ and that’s exactly what I did.”

A restaurant team has to be pretty passionate about wine to help a server from a different restaurant pass the Sommelier exam. She was so impressed with their knowledge and support, she applied to work at V.Mertz, and we all know how that turned out.

All in all this restaurant team cares about the food they serve, the wine they offer, and the guests that trust them to provide a great experience.

 

This team teaches us to stop relying on memory alone, and to care enough about the guest to take note of their likes, dislikes and preferences.

 

Thank you Matt for allowing me to spend time with you and your team. And thank you team: Chris, Jen, David, Susie, Ross, Jonathan, and everyone else that makes V.MErtz such a great restaurant.

 

Industry connections:

Jen met Austin, a service team member at Frasca when he sat for his advanced exam.

Chef Jon Seymour knows Chef Joe West, formerly of Bluestem, now Chef de cuisine at the Cincinnatian.

Matthew Brown knows the crew at The American in Kansas City because he volunteered to help at the Chef’s Classic for Harvesters.

We are in this profession together. Let’s start applauding, sharing ideas and bringing more excellence to our game. Do you want to help me with this tour AND become a stronger server or manager? Thank God! Check out the iamWaitress product line HERE or make a donation on the left.

2 Comments
  1. I cannot speak to the note taking that the waiters do but I can speak to how well the staff pays attention to OpenTable. I made my reservation on OpenTable and put in the notes that this very important meal would be right after I proposed to my fiance Marjorie. When we got there, they asked us to show them the ring and they made us feel like the two most important people in the world. We had the tasting menu and both the waiter and sommeliers took amazing care of us. That night was one of the best dining experiences either of us has had and we look forward to returning as soon as possible.

    Kevin

    • Well first of all, Congratulation! I am thrilled you took the time to write this comment. The V. Mertz team is extraordinary and it doesn’t surprise me in the least that you were well taken care of. Thanks again for the comment!

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Website: http://iamWaitress.com
Email: jennifer@iamWaitress.com