How a kid kept my business

We enjoyed the quick-service restaurant’s food, but their service was often way beyond poky. That evening, I called in our large order and was told it would be ready at 5:45.

Arriving at exactly 5:46, I discovered that only was my order not ready; nobody had even begun to prepare my food. The manager shrugged, mumbled a halfhearted apology, snapped at the crew to get my order going, then disappeared.

I was steaming inside, and then a smiling teenager behind the counter said, “Sir, if you’ll have a seat, I’ll bring your order to you when it’s ready.” I thanked her and declined. The cooks were shooting angry looks my way, so I wanted to watch them closely as they prepared my order.

Several minutes later, my food was ready. As another employee rang it up, the smiling teenager reappeared. “You shouldn’t have had to wait for your order, so next time, it’s on us,” she said and handed me two coupons for free meals.

Think about that for a moment. While the manager barely acknowledged responsibility for his team’s failure to prepare my order on time, one of his youngest (and no doubt lowest-paid) employees took it upon herself to address the situation. I don’t know anything about her, but I suspect she’ll be a success in whatever her chosen field may be. Were I the restaurant’s owner, I’d have had her and the manager swap jobs. After all, giving employees the authority and the flexibility to take care of situations without needing to beg approval from their “superiors” is where extraordinary customer service begins.

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