I went to a food cart in my neighborhood this past weekend with my darling (but a little spoiled in the food department), daughter. There is a new ‘pod’ in our part of town with about 20 or so various options.
I had been to this particular cart before, when it was previously parked in another location, and had vowed never to go there again. In fact, I instructed my kids that they were not allowed to ever eat there, either. The rude attitude from the owner has never been matched, and I hope for my sake that it never will be, because I have a tendency to speak up.
However, I heard that the cart had been sold to new owners, and was told that these new owners were ‘awesome’. So I decided to check it out for myself and give this truck another try.
Can I get your name, please?
It was very crowded–the pod was celebrating its grand opening–but the big crowds did nothing to ruin this proprietor’s (or my) mood. She could not have been more friendly and gracious. Yes, the food was fantastic, and prepared efficiently, but most importantly–without any attitude.
She asked for my name, so when my order was ready she could give me a holler over the live music. When my order was up, she gave out a good, loud, “TOM!!!” I received my food, preceded to sit and enjoy it and the company of my daughter.
I know this sounds like just another experience, but it was more than that, and I will get to my point–don’t worry.
On our way out, as is our family custom, we made a point to stop by and thank them for our delightful meal. As we walked away, she said, “Thank you, Tom.” Wow. She remembered my name.
I’m not that memorable
All of the time I am telling my students and consulting clients to use names whenever possible. My students make fun of me because I tell them that when you use the customers’ names, it makes them feel like a million bucks. Here I was, leaving this place with my daughter, feeling like a million bucks. It is an old cheesy trick, but it works. Even when you know it is just a front-of-the-house gimmick.
If it is said sincerely, that is. I remember when my kids were younger and I would inevitably end up chatting somebody up, whether it was on the street, or in a restaurant, customer or employee, and when we left my kids would always say,”Do you know them?”
People want to be noticed
I don’t care how cheesy this old trick is. It is effective. You want customers to have a good time at your place? You want them to leave feeling good about their experience? You want them to go out and tell others about what a wonderful place you have? The answer to all of these questions, by the way, should be yes.
Use the name!
Why not at least pretend to care? Again, I remind you, we are in the hospitality business.