We’re going to use a baseball term for the blog this time in comparing a baseball player’s “skills” are to that of what makes a great customer. Now of course we’re keeping in mind that EVERY server, hostess or manager will have their own set of what they think makes a great patron. For me there are five “skill” areas. In baseball the scouts look for an everyday player who can hit for average, hit the homers, is a great fielder, has a great throwing arm and speed to run the bases. The “Benzer” and I have come up with amongst other things how we judge a customer overall. See where YOUR “skills” fit:
“DO THEY GET IT?”-Candidly we all know there are all walks of life and people bond with some things, people, places more than others. You act different at the neighbor bar as say you would at an upscale steakhouse. I see people who are strong professionals in their work but don’t know how to act in a small restaurant. Others that you wouldn’t think they know what day of the week it is that can be the easiest person we see all day. I’ve seen how social media has changed the business I work in and one of the positives is that people have a better chance of being educated on a place that 20 years they would had to mostly rely on word of mouth or experience the venue themselves.
HAPPY WHEN COMING IN…HAPPY WHEN LEAVING – Smiling faces is our business! Don’t think for a second that the patron that comes in smiling, happy ready for their dining experience doesn’t affect OTHER tables in positive way too. It’s funny because I can think of SO MANY of you that come in and we almost selfishly EXPECT your big wide smiles, laughter and “all right we feel at home”. I have a grade schooler who has been coming in mostly with his Mom since he even before he started kindergarten I nicknamed “chicken pizza” because he always gets a cheese slice and one time wanted breaded chicken on it. (It took him once to find out he just wanted cheese like most kids. I love the stuff I learn from kids!) Any time I see him which is less often now I ALWAYS chant “chicken pizza” at him as he’s smiling waiting for me to do it and then he gives a good high five. He’s happy when he comes in and happy when he leaves (which includes a stop at the gumball machine!)…This is CLEARLY one of the goals that we shoot for with everyone that visits us at Flancers.
GENEROSITY ISN’T JUST ABOUT BIG TIPS – Let’s make one thing clear all servers love big tips. I always say jokingly that the easy way for me to get a raise is to get a big tip. But believe me, Ben and I don’t rate a customer just how much they tip. Examples of customer generosity include an easy donation to our annual fundraiser every spring, sometimes it’s Flancers supporting THEIR charity and seeing how generous they are outside of the café. Trying our dessert contest winners that go to a good cause. We’ve had one couple that gave each of the servers extra money last year the week after we closed the place for renovation for missing shifts. WOW! Just to think of it was strong. I’ve seen at least five people in over 11 years who have bought other tables meals. One was a father’s son’s former grade school teacher. Another was a children’s dentist. The parents never saw him leave and he didn’t want me to say anything while he was there. They were so overjoyed! Priceless moment. Total class! I can imagine the spirit des corps the next time the Mom brought the kids to the dentist. Good stuff!
PATIENCE – This is where secretly you gain a lot of “VIP points” with us. Everyone has been out to eat or somewhere when it’s busier than usual or maybe that night we don’t have our best “A” game going. The ones that have patience knowing the food will be longer or maybe you’ll have to wait an extra five minutes for a booth. I will tell you that being a regular customer with a usual order are the ones that benefit the most when we are the busiest. We are able to “skip steps” if you will because you don’t need a menu or time to order. That being said those of you who know the situation and are willing to wait for whatever it is needs get a TON of respect in our book for not just making our jobs easier but for making people around you “spirit” good too. It fits right in to number one above.
WHAT DOES YOUR CUSTOMER TREE LOOK LIKE? – When you bond with a place like so many of you have I like to look at see how much you’ve branches in terms of bringing other people in, family, business customers, neighbors, out of town people, etc.. Of course some of you are retired and are winter visitors thus are limited with the amount of people in your circle as you may have back home but mostly long time Flancers regs have brought on several guests as they come in. Ben and I can think of TONS of examples…ones that have started with coming in as a couple then they’ll bring in a couple who loves Flancers and then they’ll will bring a party of six of family of their own. Having the big family post graduation party with us?? We’re honored. Same for the birthdays, wedding caterings. One guy even picked our place and his favorite Prickly Pear Chicken sandwich as the first stop after spending vacation in a little place known as “Tent City.” The whole family was there to celebrate. Classic! Every time I see his parents I asked how he’s doing and all is well! It means a lot that you think of us in those special times. And again we know who you are! We’re watching, taking notes and adding up those mythical VIP points that can get cashed in when you really want to feel like Norm from Cheers!