Eating my way through Denmark – can our service level compete?

Summer is over! I hope you enjoyed it and took time off to be ready for whatever events Fall has in store for you?

I did take time off to visit a few places in Denmark that had been on my bucket list for a while. And as you might know, I simply CAN’T leave my event background behind and always weigh the places I visit on the imaginary event scale. This trip through Denmark was no different.

The trip was planned with gourmet experiences in mind, but actually came to focus more on the service level of our hotels and restaurants – though we did have some fantastic meals.

The Danish service level

Some years back, the Danish service level was widely discussed in the tourism media as it was definitely not up to par with other countries and was literally scaring tourists away from our beautiful little country (I wrote a blog post about it then – check it out here). Then came the Nordic Food craze and we were back with the in-crowd, and now Denmark is usually ranking the top 5 of best/happiest/’most worthy of a visit’ country in the World.

I can’t say I believe that this ranking has to do with our service level as it hasn’t increased much in my opinion, but there are places here in Denmark where they realize that laying the ground for creating an unforgettable experience is key to their success. And I was fortunate enough to visit three of those this Summer.

Roeds, Nyborg

On our journey through Denmark the first stop was for restaurant Roeds in Nyborg where Claus greeted us with a very personal service. It felt like being his private guests and he made sure we were comfortable, guided us through our choice in beer and made the necessary changes to my food with no hesitation.

The steak tartare was delicious, we ate on the patio in the sun, and once we were done and had settled the bill, Claus shook our hand and wished us a good day onward. That kind of personal, authentic and present service is not something you often get to experience.

And we have already decided that the next time we are in Nyborg (and it happens, since Nyborg is sort of the gateway to Western Denmark) we will definitely visit Claus at Roeds again. There are still items on the menu that we need to try…besides getting to experience the incredible service again!

Stella Maris, Svendborg

I was really excited to get to experience the hotel Stella Maris, which is a small hotel beautifully situated right by the water at Svendborg Sund. Their philosophy is calmness, interest and getting spoiled…and I have to say that they do indeed live up to those labels.

At Stella Maris we saw a presence from the personnel and interest in us as guests that we haven’t seen in Denmark before and only at really high-level hotels in places like Dublin and Vancouver. They went above and beyond to make sure we had a wonderful stay. It is the little things that does it:

  • like the receptionist showing you all the way to your room
  • like offering all guests a glass of wine at check-in (free of charge, of course)
  • like all personnel greeting and chatting with the guests whenever they meet you
  • like letting you know that whatever drink you wanted they would make it (no limited menu to choose from)

And then there was the ambience. The place was quiet and quaint and part of the experience was relaxing and looking out on the water. A place for adults, and where guests greet each other as well, because that is the kind of ambience that is there.

On top of this, we had the most amazing food (both for dinner and breakfast – we didn’t try lunch) and the most beautiful room with a view of the sound. What else can you ask for?

So, service, authenticity and presence is also very much alive at Stella Maris, and it is definitely not the last time we have visited this little gem in Svendborg.

Molskroen, Ebeltoft

Our last real experience of the trip was lunch at Molskroen, which is mentioned in the Michelin Guide. We had some really fantastic food and have sworn that we will come back to try the rest of the menu.

And then there was the service. Once again, we were treated to a great experience, both regarding the food and the service. The chefs and waiters were young, but they sure did know about service – they showed an interest and pride in their job, they were present and authentic (yup, these words keep coming up…see a pattern here?) and they delivered a quality experience.

The place and the people were an experience in itself – the waiter brought me a little stool/ottoman for me to place my handbag on during the meal. That is a first for me, I have to admit.

Creating experiences and immersion is the ultimate goal

These three visits have a few things in common – besides the fantastic food, which is worth a blog post in itself:

  • interest (from the people working there)
  • authenticity (they believe in what they are doing)
  • presence (they want to do what they are doing, and it shows)

Those are three important parts of creating immersion, and as you might know if you have followed my blog, immersion is our ultimate goal when we create an experience: We want to design the experience so that our attendees are immersed in it and FEEL the experience.

I must say that these three places – Roeds, Stella Maris and Molskroen – have realized that a high level of service is crucial if you want your guests to immerse themselves in the experience that is your restaurant for hotel.

And they all did it very well, so now you know where to find me the next time I’m off :o)

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