It is odd that many stories seem to revolve around the world of hospitality or perhaps the lack of hospitality in the restaurant/ pub world. This tale, I am sorry to say is no different.
The scene is a very beautiful evening in a beautiful city of Spokane, a fellow TM and I were housed out of the very modern hotel called the “Tower”, the rest of our group at this time were housed in the magnificent Davenport hotel a block away, Todd and I could have reached out to join our peers and partners, but we decided to visit a pub that Todd had been to the year prior and had really enjoyed. This pub was a block or so away and it was a great night for a walk.
We walked into the pub and it was alive with laughter and activity, just the place to enjoy a nice meal and a cool tasty beverage. Todd and I started to look around for a place to sit down and engage in the camaraderie that spread like a field of golden wheat blowing in the wind. Hmm, no place to sit, next room the same, we looked at each booth, table and stool, no place to sit. Then I saw it, the “place” it was a room that had a dozen tables, great lighting and no one in there, hmm why? Well, there was a little chain that closed this section off, you know, the type of chain that stands between you and happiness, cold and uncaring just hanging across the entry way doing its job, by keeping the riffraff away and out.
I paused and thought, how am I going to remove this barrier and have a great time with my good friend Todd?
Maybe I could flash a George Washington or two, no that won’t work, I could say that Todd was a famous actor, no that won’t work either (no offense Todd), I know what I will do I will appeal to their sense of pride in their restaurant I will ask them a question that will certainly get us into that empty room that was begging to be alight with joy and friendship.
Behind the cash register were three employees, standing there looking about, I put on my serious but friendly face and asked them this simple question.
Do you know of a nearby place where my friend and I can go and get a good meal with a cold beer?
The young lady looked at me, thought for a second and said,” I am not sure”, she turned to the guy standing next to her and asked him that question for me. He thought and started to tell me a place that might work.
I stopped him mid sentence and added we would love to eat and drink here but there is nowhere to sit down except for the area that has a chain blocking access, he said, oh sorry about that, we do not have enough help to open up that area, try this place down the street.
Okay, away Todd and I went, I was thinking, we did not talk to the owner of that place because surely they would have made it happen (I think).
Should it have mattered who I talked to!!??
This was a turning point for me and this business, they could have made Todd and I raving fans or dissatisfied unvalued potential customers.
Do your employees think like an “owner” or just a person getting through the day, hoping the hour of closing will arrive quickly?
If you made it this far, thank you for your time and I hope that you reflect on your branches service levels and the messages that we send, both spoken and at times unspoken.
Scott Koch, Terrirtory Manager and VP for Sterling Bank allowed me to post the above tale which he shared with his managers recently.