The name is what drew people to the restaurant. Kd’s Southern Cuisine is the former restaurant that Kevin Durant owned in OKC when he played for the Thunder. The name, more specifically, the owner is the sole reason I chose to dine at Kd’s.
Kd’s looked like an unpretentious café in a new development, but it was actually a fine restaurant flawlessly delivering southern cuisine, ambiance and a jaw-dropping customer experience.
So here’s my experience at what was once Kd’s. Once seated, the hostess handed us menus bound in leather. The leather on the menu casing was robust, worn and beautiful, like a pair of beloved cowboy boots.
And when I opened the menu, it lit up like a Christmas tree. Lighted menus! What a novel idea. This is especially helpful to those of us who are ready for readers or those who have left them behind. It was as easy to read the menu as it is for me to read a book on my Kindle in a completely dark room. Kd’s had me at lighted menus.
The food was exquisite. We started with Fried Green Tomatoes as the appetizer. The fried tomatoes were topped with a housemaid remoulade and laid on a bed of cucumber salad. It was delicious and a complete joy to eat. I was disappointed that I had to share it.
I chose the Arugula salad with a side of braised greens for my entree. The salad, oh, the salad! Bite after bite it blessed my palate with roasted beets, pine nuts, goat cheese and apple vinaigrette dressing. The colors, texture, and flavors were like a well-rehearsed symphony. Perfect.
And the greens…mustard and turnip greens with onion and garlic. When I looked at the little bowl of greens and took in the aroma, I drifted to my mother’s kitchen, and I was standing over a big pot of greens on a holiday. The greens were “slap your mama” good.
The bar area in the former Kd’s Southern Cuisine restaurant in Bricktown, Oklahoma City.
As fantastic as the food was, and it really was terrific, that wasn’t even the biggest wow for me. The service experience was the big wow for me. Four things stand out from my dining experience at Kd’s.
1. Success is in the details. As a Customer Experience Designer, I notice the details. The lit menu was a detail that told me Kd’s cared about presentation and that ease of reading menus was a focus.
2. Polished and professional people working as a team. Another detail was the team approach to the customer experience. A poised, confident gentleman walked about the restaurant topping off drinks. His presence was so commanding that I initially thought he was a manager. He was watchful and attentive, serving the entire restaurant. Each time he stopped by our table to refill water or tea, he took a few seconds to make small talk. He showed genuine interest in us, and he was charismatic, and a joy to speak with.
3. Everybody served everybody. Our server was great. He spoke with grace, made eye contact and had a pleasant “at your service” attitude throughout our dining experience. He was perfect and needed no assistance from his team to take care of us. And yet, several other servers stopped by our table to check on things and to say hello. It seemed that everyone’s job was to make sure everyone had a great dining experience.
4. Employees sought out guest contact. I noticed an employee entering the restaurant to start her shift. I noticed her because as she walked through the restaurant, she looked in our direction, made friendly eye contact, smiled and said hello. Her eye contact and smile gave me a real sense of connection with her.
She then went to the employee area, put on an apron and re-appeared to serve customers. She stopped by our table just to check to see how we were enjoying our meal. How easy it would have been for her to just walk by and report to her station. But instead, she stopped to say hello, and that was delightful.
Kd’s very clearly had a traditional culture of teamwork. All employees speak and make small talk with guests. All libations are taken care of by one capable server. All servers serve all customers, not just guests at their tables.
Takeaway: How might you adopt a team approach to your customer experience?
Use my experience at Kd’s to spark discussions on your own customer experience. Here are 2 questions to get you started.
- How might we adopt a culture of teamwork where everybody is trained to help everyone? How might this speed up, improve or change our customer experience?
- What if our employees sought out customer contact (make eye contact, say hello, offer to help) instead of merely focusing on their jobs?
The name, Kevin Durant, drew me in. But it was the stunning team approach to the customer experience and the exquisitely prepared food that left me raving about the restaurant.
Myra Golden is a customer experience keynote speaker and trainer who travels North America looking for great stories to share, and new ways to help her clients deliver the best possible customer experience.