Every Night Is Opening Night

“My focus was always on the food and its creation,” famous restaurateur and entrepreneur Wolfgang Puck told Peter Guber at his legendary Spago restaurant. Spago was just one of the many restaurants and other enterprises Wolfgang owned in his ever-expanding empire.

Guber knew how challenging it was to instill a standard of excellence across many businesses spanning various locations and he wanted to know what Puck told employees, product purveyors, and franchisees to maintain superior quality when he couldn’t physically be in each location himself.

“You know how everyone is on their toes opening night? Wolfgang replied. “The attitude of the staff has to shine. The food has to be top quality and the service premium because the critics will notice every detail. On opening night everyone is on best behavior, making sure everything is just right.'”

Wolfgang would tell his new employees and partners the story of how, “Every night must be opening night in every one of my restaurants. We should always be up to our standard – and making sure everything is just so. To do less is to fail.”

Ahha! His staff got exactly Puck’s call to action. More than a standard, this story analogy reflects what’s necessary for his customers to carry forth with that story when the critic is long gone. They experience opening night, savor it, and retell it.

“A lot of people spend money on advertising,” Wolfgang said. “Instead, we advertise to the people we know by following this story every night, and treating them so well that they come back. They bring their friends. They tell their friends.”



blog-telltowin-linkTo validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.


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