I have visited many different types of restaurants. Each one of them is unique in their own way. Still I can see some commonalities among them. When you you show up at the restaurant, you are assured to the seat, a menu card is presented, you place an order and then the transaction begins. The restaurants starts rolling out the best possible services they can provide. This is where experience with Indian restaurants stand out.
In Indian restaurants, the waiter is supposed to serve a glass of water without you having to ask for it and even before you make up your mind what to order. In Indian restaurants service needs to start flowing in even before any order is placed. A subtle but very important difference.
Serving water is a very simple but holy ritual in Indian hospitality and service industry. I remember in childhood my mom used to tell me, "even if your sworn enemy asks you for water, first serve it then resume the fight". Refusing water to someone is considered a sin.
As a logical, rational adult I started thinking about this. I realized the importance of water. A human body can survive for 3 weeks without food but it can not survive for 3 days without water. India is a hot and humid country so in olden days when people would walk across the countryside, serving water signified empathy.
What does this mean for business?
Well, you need to get in the mode of serving the customer even before the formal order is placed. You need to show a personal connection and empathy to get yourself going. Some freebees, perhaps insignificant in value terms should start flowing in even before the customer makes up his mind. Better service you provide in this phase, sooner and larger would be the order.
Customer may walk out after drinking that glass of water but if you don't serve it customer would be lost for life. Cut and dry dealing may leave you high and
A glass of water can create magic in your pursuit to win Indian customer.