The best Sunday lunch ever

I like a really good Sunday lunch. A bit of an extravagance, I know, but what a treat. I like shopping for it, preparing it and cooking it. However, the one thing I’m not very good at is cleaning up afterwards. I often sit down with friends and family to enjoy the fruits of my labour, only to see them rolling their eyes at the carnage left behind and the certainty of the massive cleaning up task that undoubtably lies ahead. That’s why, for an extra special treat, I choose to have Sunday lunch out. The problem is always where to go? I’ve tried pubs, hotels, restaurants, wine bars, boats and every other eatery you can name with varying degrees of success and then there was Albert’s Schloss.

When I talk at events or conferences, I’m always harping on about “What’s your passion?” I don’t mean what do you love in life, or are you doing the right job or working for the right people, instead, I mean what drives you? What are your core values? What is your obsession? What defines you as a group, an individual or an organisation? When that clarity of purpose is accompanied by a commitment to living and breathing shared principles and beliefs, the outcome is always going to be something special. Welcome to Albert’s Schloss!

Found quite by chance, just around the corner from the Manchester Exhibition centre. I was looking for somewhere to eat. It was late Sunday afternoon and my expectations of a lovely lunch were not running high. I was in for a surprise. The door was framed in a cacophony of colourful flowers with two smartly dressed doormen greeting people with a polite “Good afternoon, do you have a booking?” I couldn’t lie, and prepared to walk away. To my surprise however, I was passed on to the waiting receptionist who proceeded to go out of her way to find me a table. The waitress, Chloe, couldn’t have been nicer nor more helpful and very soon a lovely glass of wine appeared and I started to relax and take in the incredible surroundings. On stage a terrific band played live music whilst people twisted and jived on the dance floor. The bar tenders knew their stuff and cocktails were dispensed with theatrical skill. Frozen glasses, pulled from the freezer kept the beer chilled for even the most discerning of customers. The ambience created by the lighting, sound colours and laughter was something special. Chloe, came over followed by a guy carrying a tray on his shoulder. A large plate was lifted off and placed in front of me, Roast Chicken with all the trimmings, then a bowl with crispy potatoes, followed by another bowl of tender stem broccoli and yet another bowl with beautiful root vegetables and finally a jug of piping hot gravy. Everything was perfect, even the way the dishes were placed on the table with so much care and attention to detail. Needless to say, another glass of wine followed and it was then I knew that I was here for the long run. What a night! The music, service, attention to detail, quality of food and drink, professionalism of the staff. It was if they had all been to the same school of public service and entertainment. Looking around, it was clear that the high spirits of both the staff and customer were infectious. I couldn’t help but wonder if they had all come in feeling that happy.

So what point am I making? Here was an entertainment eating venue that has stuck out from all the rest. It has left an indelible impression on me for all the right reasons. How does your organisation compare with this, no matter what you do? What is the impression you create with your customers, clients or even pupils ? How do your staff reflect the same levels of professionalism and togetherness, no matter what role they have? How does your website and publicity material define your commitment and expectations? Take another hard look at what you do and why you do it and ask yourself…

How do we show what we care about in all we do?

Next time you’re in Manchester, head off to Albert’s Schloss, I may well see you there.

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