Marking 25 years at the helm of his family’s world-renowned Le Gavroche restaurant in London, Michelin two-star chef Michel Roux Jr. sat down with the Lexus blog to share his insights into how the foundation of success is an excellent reputation, impeccable customer service and exceeding expectations wherever possible.
Lexus Blog: How important is a good reputation for Le Gavroche?
Michel Roux Jr.: Reputation is vital and key to the success of a business. There’s a huge responsibility to carry on the good reputation that my father built [Le Gavroche opened in 1967]. I think clients in any business look for a good reputation – it’s a sign of quality, longevity and value.
The value and the importance of a name is striking, but a name would be nothing if you can’t back it up with value and service, the important things that you want to showcase. My restaurant, Le Gavroche, is famous for its food, but I firmly believe that it’s not just the food that makes this a special restaurant – it’s also the service.
Lexus Blog: Customer service is clearly important to you and your business. How do you make the customer experience second-to-none?
Michel Roux Jr.: Great customer experience starts from the very, very first moment that you make contact with the customer, so for us very often it is just the phone call to make the reservation, and that is so important – that very first moment.
Service is about delivering things that, as a customer, you didn’t even know that you wanted.
[Then] it is about that feeling that you get as a customer when you walk into a restaurant. It’s like an aura – you know you’re in a great place. And service [is about] delivering things that, as a customer, you didn’t even know that you wanted – it’s almost invisible, but you know you’re being cosseted and you’re being really well looked after.
I want to make sure that every single person that comes here has the best quality service and food available. I am proud of what I do and I’m proud of what I deliver to my customers. I put myself in their shoes, I put myself as a diner and there are certain things that I would expect and we want the customers to be blown away, we want to exceed their expectations, so that’s our target and that’s what we aim to do.
Lexus Blog: Exceeding expectations isn’t easy – how do you accomplish this?
Michel Roux Jr.: I constantly question myself, I put myself in the shoes of the customer and try and experience what they would experience in my restaurant. I sit down at a random table and I look at the view of the customer. I will re-read my menu, sit down and eat the dishes that I’ve cooked as opposed to tasting them in the kitchen. [It] gives me a proper, real customer experience and that’s the only way that I can actually see if what I’m delivering is what the customer wants.
We want the customers to be blown away, we want to exceed their expectations.
Lexus Blog: You currently drive a Lexus RX – do you see similar qualities exhibited in the Lexus?
Michel Roux Jr.: The RX 450h is a superb car – it ticks all the boxes. In a car I’m looking for character, I’m looking for something where you can see there’s been thought and clever design, not something that’s run-of-the-mill.
To me, it looks special, as if someone has taken care in the design, in the concept. I genuinely think that the designers of this particular Lexus have sat down and looked at every single point as a customer would, as a driver would – you can feel that. It’s a beautifully-designed car, comfortable. It really is just perfect.