I ate lunch at a PF Chang’s in Michigan, and my server, Andrea, was evidently a professional. She had a great demeanor, could recite the menu as if she had written it and performed it every night for many years (which the latter turned out to be true). She anticipated everything I could have needed, never letting my iced tea go below 1/3 before she’d rush back over and keep it filled.
Andrea’s tray was always full to the top with her tables’ needs. She hustled. I saw many other servers doing far less than Andrea. The details were what impressed me. She kept delivering on these tiny little micro-details that made my experience (and the four other tables she was waiting) an amazing experience to watch.
Here’s the big moment: at the end, when I ordered a cup of coffee, Andrea handed it over to me and said, “Be careful. I warmed the mug.”
I’ve been a coffee drinker for decades, some of it in restaurants, and I have never had a warmed mug. It’s the equivalent of when the bartender pulls out the frosty mugs for beer, but the other way around. It’s a courtesy, but a very functional one. My coffee was the perfect temperature and she was ensuring that it would stay that way.
When the bill came, I tipped Andrea 50%. Yep. Hell, I might have even doubled the check up, I was so thoroughly pleased with her service.
On the way out the door, I considered asking for her boss to tell him or her. Here’s where it got interesting for me. I decided, “who cares?” Her boss is busy. Her boss doesn’t likely see the value in how Andrea differs from another warm body. Her boss probably understands in his or her gut that great service means return trips, but the boss just collects the table fee, so why should he or she care about the tip levels? (We know why, but you follow me?)
Andrea won because she hustled. Andrea didn’t need a useless reward/award. Andrea probably doesn’t even brag about what she does well, because to her, it’s just part of her passion for service.
Made me think about the business I’m in. You?