Recently, a potential business client invited me to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants- The Angus Barn. A dinner meeting after an already full day of platform speaking demands a great place for conversation, atmosphere, great food, and most importantly, terrific service. My expectations for all the above were high as I choose this venue whenever I am in the Raleigh area and circumstances allow.
Upon arrival at exactly 7:15, I met my party and almost immediately our table was ready. The hostess took us to our table and indicated that our server would be by in just a minute. Almost to the exact projected time, our server arrived. Immediately I noticed in the way she greeted us and the manner in which she asked us questions about our desires for beverages and the menu, that she was no rookie. In fact, I took a gander and proposed that she had worked there for a while.
After being treated royally for a couple of hours over dinner, I asked Yvonne, the server, a couple of questions. First, I asked her how long she had worked at The Angus Barn. To my surprise, she said with enthusiasm, 33 years. “Wow,” I said, “that is a really long time in any business, but especially in the food and restaurant business.” She acknowledged as much, but was quick to retort and say, “but I have a colleague who has worked here 49 years.” “What? Are you kidding me?” I replied. Neither Yvonne nor her colleague was related to the family that owns Angus Barn.
Encouragingly and seriously I asked Yvonne why she had worked there so long. She responded with no delay, “because they love me here.” At first I thought she meant the management staff. While she affirmed that, she went on to say, she mostly meant the customers. And she added, “I love them, too.”
What makes this story EXTRAordinary is this. Yvonne and others who stay at an establishment of this caliber are paid about average tips and earn a decent living. But it was clear to me, even before she told me, Yvonne did not work at the Angus Barn because of the money or the benefits. In fact, she works there because of LOVE. She loves her co-workers, managers, supervisor and owners…and she knows they love her. She loves her customers and they love her. That understanding of purpose and her self-inspired passion to serve gives her energy and drives her to action on behalf of her customers.
Before we left, I thought I would try to get contact information from her so I could send a note to her manager to recognize her great service to us. Thinking it was a long shot, I asked “do you have a business card?” Without hesitation she retrieved from her apron a business card with her name on it and below that, her title. It simply read…SERVER. How appropriate. She proudly claims her restaurant and her title.
EXTRAordinary service requires extra effort, extra action, and a lot of HEART. Yvonne is a SERVER, just ask her.