Ever been out to a great restaurant only to receive subpar service?
How about the opposite? An average restaurant with impeccable service?
One of my most memorable meals was with my wife on a vacation in Mexico. We sat atop a deck viewing the Pacific Ocean with two other couples.
The food was great. The service was perfect. And as we enjoyed our food and the view a local musician serenaded us by playing covers on his guitar.
But recently I had a dining experience I won’t soon forget.
We were out to eat with Stacey’s family. We went to one of the family’s favorite spots.
They knew the menu and a number of the staff knew her family.
The restaurant wasn’t too busy but our party of 11 had our server working extra hard.
He patiently took our order. It looked as if he was taking notes for a big final as he listened intently and scribbled quickly doing his best to retain the information.
After a short time our orders started to emerge.
There’s something exciting about watching food orders come out of the kitchen. Your eyes track the servers hoping your plate made the tray.
All but two of our party had our food and we decided that was close enough and we began digging into our lunches.
A few minutes turned into five and we realized the two people that didn’t have food were still looking longingly at the kitchen door, but with no luck.
After seven minutes our server came back to try and figure out what happened. He apologized and hustled back to the kitchen.
Soon everyone had their food and all was right with the world.
Nothing about this meal stood out until the very end of our experience.
Our server stood near the head of the table and humbly and meekly apologized for missing the orders.
He mentioned how this was his first day serving after many years as a bus boy.
I don’t normally write words like this, but I have no other choice:
It was really sweet.
He finished by asking / assuring that if we returned it would happen again.
I loved it.
The restaurant has found a winner in this guy.
I wish more people were willing to own up to their failures the way he was.
Heck, I wish I was willing to own up to my failures with as much humility and honesty.
Was the food life-changing? No.
Was the service flawless? No.
Was it memorable? Absolutely.
Own your mistakes. Sincerely apologize. Do your best to make it right.
I hope I can live up to our server’s standard.