A teenage girl, let’s call her Chrissy, decides to meet up with a friend at a local pancake house. She drives into the parking lot, gets out of her car and walks in the door and sits down in the booth where her friend awaits. The waitress on duty comes to the booth, puts down the menu and tells Chrissy, “My son wants to take you out.” She turns around to the kitchen and yells out, “Hey, Jeremy, smile and wave!”. Jeremy, the pancake house cook, smiles and waves from the kitchen window.
As the girls are served breakfast, the waitress places the plates in front of Chrissy and says, “Jeremy says this is cooked with love.” And suddenly, Jeremy appears at the booth and tries to converse. In the middle of the conversation, Chrissy says, “How old are you?”, to which Jeremy replies (as he tries to stand taller), “I’m nineteen”. Chrissy looks at him and says, “Just so you know, I’m 16”, which promptly quiets Jeremy and he heads back to the kitchen.
As the girls pay their bill, Jeremy comes to the cash register and says to the waitress, “Tell her she should text me”. His mom replied, “Tell her yourself”.
“You should text me,” Jeremy says to Chrissy.
“No thanks”, she said as she walked out the door.
True story. It sounded so ridiculous that I had to write it down, simply because once you get past the stupidity of the behavior, you realize there are some basic business lessons lying in wait.
- When a customer walks in the door, allow them time to breathe before talking with him/her. Give yourself time to assess their situation — do they want to take their time, are they in a hurry, will other people be joining them, do they look like they care that Jeremy is in the kitchen?
- Don’t hit on customers.
- Don’t ever have someone talk for you (didn’t we learn that from Pocahontas?).
- When people sit down for a meal, be friendly, be courteous, be prompt. But don’t sell your soul — or your son — when people are eating.
- Don’t yell across your place of business (although “Jeremy, smile and wave!” will always make me laugh now) at a co-worker or patron.
- Don’t embarrass your customer…ever.
- And Moms, it’s probably best to let your son make his own mistakes.
Although the pancake house lost two customers today, I will say that I heard that the breakfast, all in all, was pretty darn good today. And the entertainment was free.