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Briarhurst Manor: A Study in the Little Things

The Briarhurst is considered a jewel of fine dining in the Colorado Springs area:

Only a few minutes drive west of Colorado Springs, The Briarhurst Manor is located in the tiny valley of Manitou Springs. The stately Victorian Manor House was built in 1876 by the founder of Manitou Springs, Dr. William Bell, of London England.

The finely grained pink sandstone Tudor Manor displays the architecture and landscaping of an English Country House, complete with the bubbling Fountain Creek passing through the estate and offers an unrivaled view of Pikes Peak. The Briarhurst Manor is listed on the National Historic Registry in Washington, D.C. Today you can visit a true glimpse of the old west at this beautifully preserved fairytale mansion.

We always get buy one, get one coupons for our anniversary and birthday’s and this year we decided to take advantage of the offer for my birthday.

The food is always a superb selection of Colorado native dishes and they include a small sampler of some unique creation before the meal to whet your appetite and include a small serving of sherbet between the salad and main course. If you want to spend your life savings on a bottle of wine, this is the place to do it.

On this visit we noticed a couple of little things that took the restaurant down a notch in our eyes.

  • The black table cloth they put over the white table cloth had a couple of food spots on it. Whoever cleared the table had brushed off the crumbs instead of changing the cloth.
  • Our server had a few too many piercings (tongue, nose, multiple ear). If this was McDonald’s, I could understand this laxity in the dress code but at one of the finest restaurants you should expect that your servers will be clean-cut, normal people who don’t distract from your meal with their tongue studs.
  • The  bread came with three different butters, one of which had edible flowers in it. My wife asked the server what kind of flowers they were and the server promised to check but never gave us the answer.

These really aren’t show-stopping complaints and if we had been at a lower quality restaurant, I wouldn’t have even noticed. But we were at one of the premier restaurants in the city and our expectations were higher.

Keep this in mind as you improve your business. You want to be the best in your niche but if being the best includes an implied guarantee of quality, your whole operation has to be on board with the level you set. Having varying levels of quality in your business creates uncertainty for your customers which results in discomfort and wariness. They will start thinking “If they are cutting corners here, where else are they cutting corners?”. You have to have consistency or you will disappoint and disappointed customers will find other places to do business.

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