When dining out the level of service does not always go hand-in-hand with the caliber of the restaurant. Like most people, I have received the absolute worst service at some of the finest restaurants while receiving some of the most attentive service at a more economical family restaurant. Although the quality of the food may be relative to the differing cost, the level of service should be consistent.
With that said, the obvious expectation would be that the fine restaurant would provide both a higher quality of food as well as a higher degree of service. The irony is that often, the level of service at certain finer restaurants is inferior. Therefore, service is not based on the quality of the restaurant but the quality of the individual.
A perfect example is a recent family dining experience. My youngest son’s favorite restaurant is IHOP or better known by the finest pancake connoisseur….the International House of Pancakes. IHOP may not impulsively be considered as a fine dining experience, but it is a matter of perspective. My son Jackson would probably argue that it is the finest of dining experience – while his mother would probably want a few minutes to rebut his claim.
Nonetheless, it was going to be dinner at IHOP. Being that Jackson is Autistic, he can at times be perceived to have odd behaviors and struggles to communicate effectively. Although it can be challenging and frustrating for him; for his continued advancement/development it is important that he engage with people in a social setting – which includes ordering his own meal. This interaction can be awkward and sometimes take a waiter/waitress by surprise.
When our waitress Chrystal first came to the table, we appeared to be your average family. When she began to take our order, she quickly observed that we were going to be a slightly different family. After a few prompts from my wife, my son Jackson ordered his food (combining speech and sign language). Chrystal was extremely patient and compassionate as she took his order. Not only did she not judge him but she made a point to engage with him. Throughout our dining experience she was attentive and respectful. At one point realizing the need for Jackson to engage, Chrystal asked my wife for the signs of a few words and she used them in further communicating with Jackson.
Although the food was good based on what one would expect from a restaurant chain, what will bring us back to this particular restaurant was our waitress Chrystal. Chrystal was not only a very attentive server but she is an incredible individual that represents IHop in a wonderful manner. She recognized and adapted to our family situation. She was respectful. She was engaging. She made you feel as though you (or your son) were the most important thing in the world. As a manager, these are the characteristic that you wish existed in all of your employees.
It is often said that the best form of advertisement is word of mouth. Word of mouth is typically based on a personal experience – which can have either positive or negative implications. Strong, positive, attentive, and caring employees willing to go that extra step to bring value to their customers will always prove to be the best advertisement. However for an employee to truly project these characteristics, they must first observe them in their own company leadership.