Recently restauranteur Danny Meyer did an interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 minutes discussing his secret to success with Shake Shack and his fine dining restaurants. Outside of offering a fabulous product in the form of amazing food, his major focus was on the customer experience. From the people he hired and throughout his training process, if he wanted to create lifelong customers, no detail was too small. Meyers summed it up like this:
“Everyone on Earth is walking around life wearing an invisible sign that says, "Make me feel important." And your job is to understand the size of the font of this invisible sign and how brightly it's lit. So make me feel important by leaving me alone. Make me feel important by letting me tell you everything I know about food. So it's our job to read that sign and to deliver the experience that that person needs.”
This philosophy sums up All-Stars to a tee. In a world where a current or future dance student have many dance options, Arthur Murray stands out by hiring the best people and training them to give the best customer service and an even better customer experience. The All-Star competition itself gives a platform to the those that can “read the invisible sign” best.
The All-Star test puts Arthur Murray teachers in several different scenarios that come up every day in their career. From motivating a student past their insecurities to helping any style learner discover how to dance, All-Star testing is designed to showcase the best version of every staff member. This is a worldwide competition and of the 10 Areas around the world, 10 teams will compete to see who is the best. Kind of like the Hunger Games, just with bigger teams and everyone gets to go home at the end. But there will only be one winning team.
Recently I had a chance to meet with our very own CT All-Star Matt Berryman before he competes with the Area 1 team against the rest of the world at Superama in Las Vegas. This is what he had to say about his All-Star testing experience.
Meet our All-Star Teacher Matt Berryman of Arthur Murray Dance Center of Bloomfield, CT. He's been changing the world one step at a time since 2010.
TR: First off, congratulations on moving on to the finals in Las Vegas! How did you react when the announcement was made?
MB: My initial reaction was one of excitement then followed by validation. I knew I was up against other talented teachers but I went in wanting to win and expecting to win, it felt good when I did. I could see it so clearly I even brought my award winning outfit.
TR: How far have you made it in All-Stars before now?
MB: I made it to the Area round.
TR: What kind of last minute things did you do to prepare? Was there a pep talk? Did you do yoga in the hallway? Give us the scoop.
MB: Not much. I very briefly looked over the All-Star hand-out, then put it away, said relax and you got this. I knew I had to stay calm and stay loose. I focused on understanding the back story and went in prepared to talk to my “students”.
TR: What's your All-Star backstory? If you can give a little synopsis of the highs and lows of this competition over the years.
MB: I hated it to start. It got to a point in my 3rd year doing All-Stars that I just made a conscious decision to throw caution to the wind and go for it. I can remember some years being so nervous that I would sweep the studio floor to distract myself from the test. Eventually I realized that this is what I do every day as a teacher and this exercise could help me. To the person who wants to compete against the world in Vegas, even if you don’t go all the way, you become better in the process.
TR: Last question, what does this mean to you? What makes it special?
MB: It has evolved a lot through the process. My initial goal was a trip to perform in Vegas, but now after winning Area it has evolved. I appreciate the accolades and recognition, but know that people are excited to see me represent Area 1, and for that I want this for our Area. I have had awards for Festival and Tournament of Champions but to win All-Stars is different, it’s an elite group. My new vision is to make the team proud and show everyone that Area 1 is AWESOME!
We are all very proud of Matt and the Area 1 team going to Vegas and wish them the best of luck this weekend!