Who Taught These Employees How to Serve?

Are your employers empowered to serve, or do they suffer from benign neglect?


I went to lunch this week
at Mixt Greens, a restaurant in San Francisco that specialized in different
kinds of salads. It was the kind of restaurant where you gave your order to
employees behind the counter. 


I’m the type of person
that you don’t want to stand behind if there are more than three choices, and
you’re in a hurry. I was hungry, and everything looked good. As I stood there
pondering, the guy behind the counter smiled at me, and asked, “Is this your first
time here?”  When I answered in the
affirmative, he said, “I know what it’s like when this is your first time at
Mixt Greens. It can be overwhelming.”

I was pleasantly surprised
that he understood my dilemma, and suggested I get the salad that was most
popular, and that he’d fix it for me the way he liked it. I knew I could trust
him with my salad, so I nodded yes. I watched as he put a heaping portion of
ahi in the bowl, along with lettuce, mango, cucumbers, macadamia nuts and

The next decision I had to
make was what drink I was going to order. I was contemplating the pomegranate
lemonade, out loud, when the guy serving the drinks said, “The pomegranate
lemonade is great and it’s even better mixed with tea.”   ‘OK, I said.” I got my salad, my
drink and sat down to eat.

The drink and salad were
delicious, and my taste buds were happy. The next day at lunchtime, I went back
to Mixt Greens, and brought five more colleagues. The same men were behind the
counter, and both greeted me out loud. When I stood at the counter, they asked
me if I wanted the same salad and the same drink as the day before. I couldn’t
believe that they remembered me, and my salad and drink were just as good as
the day before.

I had to compliment the
two men on their service. I told them how welcome I felt and told them I was
surprised they remembered me. One of them said, “It’s our job to remember
customers. We like what we do, and we like serving people great food.”

I took their card, so I
could send a note to their manager about the outstanding service. 


These guys, who probably
are not at the high end of the pay scale, can be happy at work, and empowered
by their management to make customers happy.  It’s unfortunate that leaders at a lot of other
organizations don’t understand the need to invest in employees at every pay
scale, and organizational level. When employees are not happy with their leadership,
they won’t take the time to give their customers that extra attention.

If you think you don’t
have time and money to train and empower front-line employees, think again, or
you may be mentioned on twitter, facebook and blogs with the subject line, …. (The
name of your organization) sucks!

But when consumers feel
welcomed by employees, and get that extra attention, they bring their friends
and pass the word to the world through twitter, facebook and blogs.

 Simma Lieberman 

“The Inclusionist” 

Creating workplaces where people love to do their best work and customers love to do business 

Simma Lieberman Associates 
Fax: 510.527/0723 
1185 Solano Ave. PMB 142 
Albany, CA 94706  

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