Chefs discussing optimized menu on clipboard in commercial restaurant kitchen

We recently caught up with Michelle Poteaux, co-owner and chef at Bastille (an Upserve member) with her husband, Christophe. Bastille is a charming French bistro and wine bar in Alexandria, VA, that specializes in sourcing local ingredients, inventing creative pastries and hosting French wine events. “Terrine de foie-gras confit, gelee de raisins de Concord, brioche,” says it all.

Upserve: When did you open and what made you choose to open Bastille?

Michelle: Bastille was opened in September 2006. We had been asked by a fellow chef/restaurateur when we were going to open a place and that Alexandria need more dining options. We had thought about it, but not seriously until that moment. The rest, you could say, is history (at least 6 years this September 2012)!

Upserve: As a consumer, what loyalty programs are you a member of what stands out?

Michelle: Lowes, Ulta, CVS, Rite Aid, Giant, Safeway and DSW. I religiously use my Giant card because of the current discount gas incentive program. It’s convenient since I have to shop for groceries anyway. I intentionally choose Giant over any other grocer currently for my main purchases.

Upserve: As a business owner, how do you create loyal customers?

Michelle: We try to always put our best foot forward, beginning with the greeting, service and food. I know that we may stumble, but we push ourselves to give 100% to each guest because we want them to know that we truly appreciate them spending their time and money with us.

Upserve: Where do you come up with new ideas for your business?

Michelle: I read tons of trade magazines, websites by professionals and blogs: Food and Wine, Wine Spectator, Eater, Tasting Table, Michael Laiskonis blog (Notes from the Kitchen), Food Arts, Sante, Restaurant News, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Huffington Post and Twitter feeds from foodies. I look to see what our neighbor restaurants are doing and I sit and try to think about what would I be looking for in a promotion, menu idea, etc.

Upserve: What brands do you admire?

Michelle: Danny Meyer (of Union Square Hospitality Group), Eat Good Food Group (local restaurant group in Virginia) to name a few.

Upserve: What is a marketing campaign or menu change you’re proudest of?

Michelle: I’m currently proud of the fact that, after almost 6 years, I’m now able to make my own ice cream! I love to make ice cream and when we started Bastille, the kitchen was slightly bigger than a shoe box- I just couldn’t find the right equipment to fit into the space. Now, I’m thrilled to have an ice cream freezer, ice cream maker, etc. I have so many ideas I find it hard to restrain myself because I am a huge ice cream fan!

If you’d like to join Michelle and other local businesses who are turning visitors into loyal customers, sign up for Upserve!

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