Last night on a business trip to Kansas City, MO, five co-workers and I went to dinner at a well-known barbecue restaurant, Jack’s Stack (Country Club Plaza). The barbecue was good, and the carrot cake was not only outstanding in taste, but also huge in proportion.
But it was our waitress, “J,” who made the difference for me in causing us to have a very pleasant customer service experience. When I remember the experience it’ll be J and the carrot cake tied for first with the barbecue bringing up the rear (and it WAS really good barbecue).
The first thing I noticed about her was her smile. Her greeting was warm, friendly, and sincere. Her humor was genuine and used appropriately with just the right touch.
I was impressed throughout the evening by her professionalism, competence, and knowledge. It was clear to me that she enjoyed her work.
She wasn’t perfect. When one of the salads came out with bacon when it wasn’t supposed to, she quickly acknowledged the mistake, apologized and rapidly returned with it fixed the right way.
After the food had been delivered, she checked back on a regular basis to inquire if we needed refills or other items.
In thinking back about my experiences with wait staff over the last several months, the word that comes to mind is, “efficient.” If I had to plot them all on a Bell curve, nearly all of them would be in the middle. In other words they met my “need.” But they usually contribute little to the overall experience. But J was clearly on the leading edge of the Bell curve and she made our evening more enjoyable.
If you run a restaurant, and you want to stand out, you’ve got to serve great food. But if you want to make your place the destination when people want to have a good time, you’re going to need wait staff that exhibit the same qualities as J.
Thank you, J, for contributing to a fun evening with my co-workers. Next time I’m trying the pork ribs.