Find out how to give your guests a great experience from the Principal of Kelley Jones Hospitality.

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Get ready for a knowledge-packed episode! Kelley Jones is the Principal of Kelley Jones Hospitality and a sought after speaker who has spoken at the world’s largest industry conferences. He also works as the President & COO of Hospitality Alliance, and has developed several other successful restaurant organizations.

Here’s one of our highlights from this episode and Kelley’s answers to some of our questions:

Featured Takeaway: It’s all about the service

“We’re in the hospitality industry. Hospitality, by definition, is warm, personally engaging service. So it’s really about the service. When I was an executive chef, I never would have admitted this, but I’m positive that I can forgive an overcooked steak, I can’t forget rude or inattentive treatment service. You’ve got to have a service culture, you’ve got to have a team that really loves people and wants to serve them.”

What’s the most important aspect of the guest experience nowadays? (15:25)

“Making them feel important. People innately want to feel that they mean something… We do this training drill where I ask, ‘What’s the number one way to make somebody feel important?’ And eventually, we’ll get it: call somebody by their name. As humans, we all want to feel that we are recognized, and there’s a whole bunch of ways to get somebody’s name. The easiest way is to introduce yourself.”

What’s something successful you’ve seen restaurants try lately? (18:38)

“Our food halls are coming back, and it’s funny, because it’s all about communal spaces and great entertainment. And certainly, that went away for COVID in a big way… But I really believe people just have this innate desire to be with other people and break bread.”

Who is someone in the industry that deserves an Ovation? (20:45)

Chef Michael Mina of MINA Group. “You go into any of his restaurants and they just perform on such a high level. Michael has this saying in his company that ‘perfection is expected, but excellence is accepted.’ And I love that because, you know, his feeling is if you strive for perfection, every day, you will achieve a level of excellence. That is just such a great internal mantra that people should always aspire to.”

For more, you can visit, or find him as @kelleyjoneshospitality on social media.

Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the whole episode, as well as other interviews with restaurant gurus by checking out “Give an Ovation: A Podcast For Restaurants” on or your favorite place to listen to podcasts.

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