I'll never forget walking through a major hotel with the vice president of product development for Hyatt International, Frank C. Ansel III. The food and beverage director of the hotel knew we were coming, so he had spruced up the place. Everything at the hotel looked amazing to me, but twenty minutes into the walkthrough, Frank looked at his manager with obvious displeasure. I asked Frank why he was upset. "You think he's doing things well because you look but you don't see," Frank said. He pulled me over to a table and pointed out that the service plates weren't all turned the same way, nor was the flatware placed consistently at each setting. Frank nodded toward a waiter who was pouring out of the side of a pitcher instead of the spout -- a real no-no in table service. These are subtle things, but they demonstrated a lack of standards and attention to detail. When "little" things are off, it means more important standards are probably lacking. That line, "you look but you don't see," has stayed with me ever since.
-Jon Taffer, Raise the Bar