One of the most amazing stories about romance, love and the customer experience you will ever hear

Maria and I had quite a crazy experience (in a good way) recently and I just wanted to share. We went to our local restaurant, Maria Lima, which we go to a lot as it is just two blocks away. It had been quite an intense week for us (in a good way), and we just felt like relaxing in a very convivial location.

We do love the restaurant. It has great food at reasonable value, and we also love the music there too, which is sometimes Indian and always eclectic.

Maria Lima

Credit: Maria Lima

Towards the end of our meal, a song came on, it was an instrumental guitar piece. This particular tune Maria had last heard when she was ten or eleven years old and visiting relatives in Belo Horizonte. Her cousin played it on his guitar, and she became enchanted with it, but never to hear it again.

Tonight, the song played in the restaurant, and after discovering that the waiter did not know who it was by or the name, we asked him to ask the owner, who happened to be there that night.

Back came the answer – Romance de Amor (Romance of Love) by Dilermando Reis. Here it is:

Here is the crazy thing. As we were leaving the restaurant, we spoke to the owner whose name is Marcão (Big Marcus). He told us that he lives for music, and has a great many story to tell of his life in the arts and film production. He lives for music, and he told us that if someone comes to the restaurant, and simply listens to the music and that is all, he will be happy.

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

But check this out. Marcão will often take three months to put together a music compilation for his restaurant. He really imagines what it is like to be a customer, entering the restaurant, and what music should be playing on arrival. The music at eight pm is therefore different to the music an hour later, and the music changes again.

Marção will often use compilation CDs, but when he does, he worries about the fact that if one of the customers in the restaurant also has the same CD, then they will know which song is coming next. So what he does with compilations is to take the tracks and put other songs in between the tracks to surprise the listeners. That is attention to detail.

Not only that, but on this particular night he specifically chose Romance de Amor and asked himself would anyone notice it? So imagine his surprise when one of his waiters came to him and said that yes, one of the diners had asked him what the music was. What are the chances of this?

Marcão is an amazing person, and so we chatted a lot. We really want to interview him, so you can meet him and hear about his philosophy and stories. He said to us that it makes him sad to know that there so many people in this world doing so much that is wrong, not just politicians but regular people who are dishonest, cheating and always looking to take advantage, that when he does meet people like us who can recognise something deeper in the experience he has cared so much about creating, it really touches him and he is really grateful.

This is customer experience. A restaurant owner whose aim in life is simply to make friends with his customers, and who brings his sensibilities from film production and a love of music into his desire to create an amazing dining experience. And now we are interlinked in a really quite crazy way. Brilliant.

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