Help me

I probably won’t ever be accused of being a generous guy, but occasionally, I have my moments.  From time to time I like to surprise friends and loved ones by calling ahead to restaurants and arranging to buy dinner, or dessert, or a bottle of wine to recognize and help celebrate a special occasion.

Make it easy

This should be a no-brainer.  I mean if someone calls on the phone and wants to buy something for one of your customers–make it easy to do so.  Think about it:  First of all, it is a sale.  Second of all, a sale by someone who is not even in the place.  Easy, right?

I have had times when I tried to do this, and it was clearly an inconvenience to the person on the other end of the phone. I have worked in many restaurants, and I understand just how annoying that phone can be.  But at least it is by someone who wants to spend money!

The other day

So, I find out that some neighbors are going to eat out at a place in the neighborhood.  The father was in town from Australia, and I thought it would be nice to buy them a bottle of wine.  After all, they hire my daughter to babysit for them frequently, and pay handsomely for it.  What a great chance to repay the generosity.

As I sat in front of my fireplace, sipping on bourbon, enjoying the company of my dear wife, I hesitated to make that call.  This time, it wasn’t due to the fact that I am cheap.  I had dealt with this particular restaurant before and I just imagined how the whole thing was going to play out , and couldn’t bring myself to call the restaurant.

It’s always about me

Because of past experiences, at this restaurant and others, I felt it was going to be more trouble than it was worth.  I was perfectly content to spend the money on a ridiculously marked up bottle of wine.  I was even happy to pay the added 18% gratuity that they were going to insist on.  What I was not willing to do was put up with the ‘I’m too busy to do this attitude’ at the front desk.

This is just another observation of restaurant shortcomings.  Or is it an observation of my impatience and intolerance of restaurant shortcomings?  Hmm.  You can think about that one.  Just don’t ask my daughter–I know what her answer would be.

The phone is your life line.  Make a point of being nice to everyone who calls–no matter how stupid the question is, or how often you have been asked the same question, or how busy you are.  Remember, as I have said before, it is possible to lose a customer forever without them actually even coming in to your place.

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