On a recent business trip to Atlanta, I had the opportunity to eat dinner with business associates and friends at what quickly became my favorite restaurant in all of Georgia.
During the evenings before our discovery, we ate in a steakhouse/pub, enjoying excellent ambiance, rare steak, a house brewed pale ale and an amazing fried cheesecake dessert. It was one of the best dinners I’ve enjoyed in a long time; we each left believing we had found the finest eatery in the Big Peach.
Enter Mary Mac’s Tea Room. On our last evening in Atlanta and in search of southern hospitality and southern food, our hotel concierge recommended Mary Mac's. We chose to walk the two miles for some exercise.
We were warmly welcomed by three staff members as we entered the front door. The ambiance invites you to enjoy Mary Mac's history; the walls are filled with celebrity pictures, many taken before anyone in our party was born. It seems like the wait staff has been there since the beginning too (some have been serving meals for nearly 40 years!); their collective professionalism is unparalleled and defines southern hospitality. You get the impression that when you return, you will be welcomed as an old friend.
Goodwill Ambassador Jo Carter
“At Mary Mac's,
you can learn
The best part of our evening was meeting Jo Carter, Mary Mac’s Goodwill Ambassador. Jo is the kind of person who is an instant friend. Throughout our conversation, she gave shoulder and back rubs. The back of Jo’s shirt says “I got my belly filled and my back rubbed at Mary Mac’s”, both of which are true. Jo asked for our business cards, about our families, our jobs and where we live. We had a great time talking and joking with Jo.
Topping off dinner was pie and ice cream. We didn’t need to eat anymore, but we had to have dessert. We left completely full and thankful for the two-mile walk back to the hotel to work a bit of our meals off.
Dinner was so astoundingly good and filling that when combined with an outstanding staff, amiable service, an engaging ambassador, Southern hospitality and ambiance, Mary Mac’s is now my favorite restaurant in all of Georgia.
Delight & Engagement
Fast forward a couple of weeks following our visit. I received a thank you note from one of Mary Mac’s partners, Hank Thompson.
Mr. Thompson’s letter capped off my impression of Mary Mac’s as a special place. Clearly, Ambassador Jo Carter communicated our conversation to management, who in turn wrote a thoughtful note. The letter demonstrates Mary Mac's commitment to customer delight, southern hospitality and engagement honed over more than 60 years of excellence. It clearly:
- Requests that I return soon
- Expresses hope that our dining experience met expectations
- Invites me to comment on my dining experience
- Reinforces MaryMac’s determination that each dining experience is great
- Encourages me to engage MaryMac’s for future events
- Offers an opportunity to experience MaryMac’s at home via their cookbook
- Draws attention to the State of Georgia’s Special Resolution and MaryMac’s being named “Atlanta’s Dining Room”
- Conveys appreciation for our business
- Emphasizes Mary Mac’s family culture
If you own, manage or work for a restaurant (or just about any other business for that matter), you can learn key ingredients for creating real customer delight, experience Mary Mac's southern hospitality and savor outstanding Southern fare. The personal interactions and follow-up are foundational elements of creating memorable customer delight that will keep patrons returning.
“Mary Mac’s is my
in all of Georgia”
I encourage you to visit Mary Mac's on your next visit to Atlanta; I can't imagine going back to the Big Peach and not experiencing at least one meal at the best restaurant in all of Georgia. I plan to pick up an autographed cook book and a coffee mug on my next visit.
If you have experienced great service and/or great follow-up and engagement, compliment those involved, let management know and then let your friends know and encourage them to patronize these best-in-class establishments. You'll be glad you made the effort!