When you see a place and immediately want to go there for sure your expectations when you arrive are very high. But be sure that this restaurant that was on my list is 63 floors high! Sirocco at Lebua State Tower is one of the most sought after locations in the world and this recognition is truly merited. I was so mesmerized that I said to myself I needed to write about it.
I talked to Executive Chef Glenn Eastman about their philosophy and how they turned a sky bar into a heavenly spot in Bangkok.
Papersuede: How do you create a connection with the „Sirocco” consumer, from the entrance to his leaving?
Glenn Eastman: By making contact with all the guests from the time they enter to the Dome until they leave. Our Team has been trained to make everyone feel important by greeting people by their name, remembering details about previous visits, where they like to sit and preferences, follow up on requests, turning problems into opportunities, we aren’t perfect but when we make mistakes we take these chances to recuperate in a way that leaves our guests impressed. It is an observant but unobtrusive service.
PS: Customer care is literally taken serious by your team at Sirocco, what are your fundamental beliefs?
GE: We are using the guests name when it is possible so guests feel important and cared for. We tailor the experience as much as possible to the guests needs, adapting menus to allergies, dietary needs, etc.
PS: Your staff is really polite without making you feel awkward, how did you find this balance to make everyone feel spoiled without exaggerating?
GE: We try to read the guest as the dining experience progresses to give more or less attention, as the guest requires. We add touches to the meal that give value and add to the experience, we’ve added a blind course to the set menus that is unannounced for example and is given as an extra touch from the Chef, this always leaves people impressed.
PS: I’ve seen many people in Asia who don’t travel out of their country. I think travelling is really important for a better understanding of services, habits etc. How do you choose your employees considering that your customers come from all over the world?
GE: We always concentrate on hiring people that are intelligent, have a good attitude and are looking to be more than just waiters; we then train them with a strict set of standards that give them the basics of what we are looking for. We have these “new recruits” work weeks in the back of the house before they ever have any guest contact, we judge when they are ready and only then we let them serve.
PS: The expectations regarding the menu, food and plating have grown in the last 2-3 years. How do you adjust those, what do you take into consideration when doing it?
GE: We always stay true to our concept, never trying to be more or allowing the menu to be less. Less than our restaurant concept. Then once that is defined we do a mountain of research when putting together new menus, always staying Mediterranean but sourcing new dishes that fit in that geographical area. When we have our idea for a dish, new product to incorporate then we try to give a nice touch or twist when designing the presentation, something modernistic or unexpected. Then we train the staff relentlessly so they understand all aspects and can adequately present it to our guests.
PS: How did social media influence your overall strategy? Did it have any influence on designing or re-designing some areas of the restaurant&bar? Everything must be Facebook&Instagram worthy these days.
GE: We use social media to produce buzz around what we are doing, the Dome itself lends itself to social media with the dramatic city views and high profile guests but it was designed before there was any social media at all. I guess we are fortunate that our CEO Deepak Ohri is a visionary and was ahead of the curve when he created the Dome and Sirocco.
PS: Your Instagram community is pretty small even though you have one of the most spectacular bars in the world. Why is that, why this social channel isn’t among your priorities in terms of digital communication?
GE: We are behind the curve on Instagram I think, but it’s on our priority list for this year and we will hit it very hard.
PS: What trends regarding the way we experience dining and going out would you mention for the next 2 years?
GE: In general, dining experiences are becoming more and more personalized and directed towards the individual guests requirements, I believe we will look for ways to enhance this trend with the help of technology and great service standards.
Additionally we are seeing a huge shift of people that want to eat healthier so this style of dining called „Lifestyle Cuisine” will be adapted into our offerings, more organic, locally grown vegetables, more wild caught and sustainable seafood on the menus.
Do pay a visit when in Bangkok, their customer service is an example for many of us and not only for the restaurant industry. But hey, Asian culture is all about making you feel relaxed. So, at least for one night, literally experience the head in the clouds feeling.