Success Stories

Lorenzo’s Ristorante

For forty years, the Lorenzo family has satisfied San Antonio locals with consistently great food and warm, personalized service. So despite facing much larger chains, Rick Lorenzo has successfully turned his cozy ristorante’s “smallness” into a strategic advantage!

For Rick Lorenzo, his forty seat ristorante is just the right size to allow his compact kitchen to prepare every meal to order, which helps keep his food most flavorful. The cozy atmosphere also reinforces the warm relationships his customers enjoy with his staff.

However, many of these friendships did not happen by themselves. Instead, they were nurtured by Rick’s systematic approach to hospitality.

It is one thing to instruct servers to “Get to know your customers.” It is another to provide them with a framework for learning customer preferences and regularly leading them through the process of keeping that information current. That is exactly what Rick has done.

At the heart of Rick’s system is each server’s CPB (Customer Profile Book). In the small notebook, they keep handwritten notes about each regular’s food preferences, personal interests, family names, and important dates like birthdays and anniversaries.

Then monthly, Rick and his team review their CPBs together to share new information individuals have gathered, new guest names, etc. Similarly, new servers must first compile their own CPB by reading everyone else’s before they can begin serving customers.

Updating CPBs as a team is the most important step in Rick’s process. That is because repeatedly rewriting, discussing, and updating CPB notes together helps servers rapidly internalize each guest’s preferences. Then knowing how to make each guest feel valued just comes naturally.

As a result, guests like Mr. and Mrs. Thompson feel like VIPs when eating at Lorenzo’s because everyone here always remembers their favorite wine and that Mr. Thompson enjoys an extra meatball with his spaghetti!

Since Rick’s CPB system is about building friendships between guests and individual team members, it also requires employee longevity. So in addition to seeking naturally outgoing personality types, Rick evaluates every potential new hire with longevity in mind.

For example, Rick prefers not to recruit students (they graduate) or offer part time positions (less commitment). Instead, he prefers working with adults who demonstrate emotional maturity and hopefully need a steady, full time paycheck to meet family obligations.

Longevity is also why Rick insists on training his team weekly, both to sharpen their skills and keep them energized. During brief training sessions, Rick might suggest an unusual customer situation and then ask his team how they could make those customers feel closer to the restaurant.

But probably the biggest reason Rick’s servers stick around is that they know that Rick regularly demonstrates that he cares about guests as much as they do. For example, if an elderly regular drops by for a meal unaccompanied, rather than letting them eat alone, Rick will suggest that a server would really enjoy joining them for a little conversation during their meal!

The bottom line is that by serving consistently great food and working every day to get closer to each customer, Rick and his team are creating customer loyalty in ways most chains simply cannot duplicate!