The Pepper Grinder

Posted on July 30, 2021

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Sometime in 2007, I started dining weekly at Elio's Osteria in Brisbane. After the risotto or pasta was delivered to my table I would ask for ground pepper. As they only had one grinder, the waiter would then perform this circuitous ritual until a very visible display of pepper could be seen. A few minutes later, having eaten the top layer, I would then call them back over for another round. This would be repeated a few times throughout the meal.

After dining regularly there for a few weeks, one night, as I entered the restaurant, the waiter proudly walked over to me, handed me a new pepper grinder and said, "We went and purchased this especially for you. You can now have pepper on your table."

I was delighted (and I think they were more so, to be alleviated of the grinding task).

A small gesture or gift, framed in a way that is designed to make the customer feel special keeps them coming back, bringing their friends and writing about it fourteen years later.


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