5.0 out of 5 stars
Welcome to Trotter's World, Jan. 20 2002
While I've never had the privilege of dining at Charlie Trotter's famed Chicago eatery, I was absolutely enthralled with the vivid portrait journalist Edmund Lawler paints in "Lessons in Service from Charlie Trotter." This is Lawler's second outing in Trotter's famed kitchen; his previous book, "Charlie Trotter's: A Pictorial Guide to the Famed Restaurant and Its Cuisine," is another great behind-the-scenes look at the culinary master. But instead of focusing on bread and circuses this time out, Lawler effectively pulls away the curtain to reveal just how Trotter continues to stay in the upper echelon of culinary masters. From managerial techniques to customer satisfaction, "Lessons" gets to the heart of Trotter's business, and how he has managed to stay at the top of his game since 1987. The book is helped immensely by reactions from Trotter's service staff, leaders in the restaurant industry and the chef himself, who believes that empowerment and a keen eye on every detail is the key to success in any business. While some may unjustly dismiss this book as "just another restaurant guide," many of Trotter's techniques (especially those about first impressions at an interview) are germane to most any business where service is the No. 1 priority. Sure everyone knows that the customer is always right, but if Lawler's book is any indication, Trotter knows how to make customers feel "right" more than anyone else in the business.