A blog article by Bonniejean Alford (educator, activist, world citizen)
America has become a society with a foundation of customer service. Agriculture and industry, while present, have long since been in the shadows of the past. And yet, despite being a nation now rooted in customer service, there tends to be a lack of customer service in every arena of American life today.
From my experiences over the last few years, I have faced rudeness, disrespect, and just plain animosity from people whose sole job it is to service their customers’ needs. No customer service. No mentality of “the customer is always right.” Only a desire from customer service representatives to put in their required time to get the job done at the most minimal level possible.
What is left? A nation of drones doing only what has to be done rather than fulfilling some greater purpose.
This isn’t to say that every job needs to be one that fulfills a person’s greatest desire. But the attitude of the one fulfilling said job should represent that it is. As a costumer, when I enter a business, I want to feel as though there is no one else ahead of me, that there is no one else behind me. When my needs are being addressed I should feel as if I am the only one in the room (or on the phone as the case so often is these days).
And this is especially true of restaurants.
I have spoken of restaurants before. And I have acknowledged that my needs to maintain my healthy eating does involve requesting my servers to work for their tip (but I do tip well). I rarely go to new restaurants, even though I like to try new things. Generally, I don’t go to breakfast places since I have found that restaurants focused on breakfast are the least cordial with accommodating my needs, and ultimately have to do the most accommodating. It is simpler to just have breakfast at home.
That was until recently. In a drawing for teacher appreciation days at a local business I won breakfast for two at Butterfield’s Pancake house and restaurant in Wheaton Illinois. It is a place that closes at 2:00PM, serving mostly breakfast and a few lunch items. I have seen it, but never went in because of my previous experiences with breakfast places.
I fully expected the gift certificate would be limited to specific items I couldn’t eat. I fully expected to be treated with disdain because I was not only eating free but I had specific requests that many feel I don’t have a right to have fulfilled. I went in with hesitation and an expectation that my breakfast would ultimately be packed up for my husband to eat later.
My expectations were way off target in this case, with this restaurant.
First and foremost, the gift card included a full breakfast, with sides and drinks, from anywhere on the menu (I will admit, I did go a bit overboard with my meal adding extras I might not have had I been paying cash). The server we were assigned was amazing. He listened to my needs and requests as if I was the only customer in the whole place – and it was extremely busy. He checked and rechecked. He anticipated my needs based on my previous questions. He helped me select an amazing breakfast, that worked with my dietary needs. There were no ill-feelings from him, or any other staff member. I didn’t here exclamations of annoyance from the kitchen (which I have heard before). I didn’t get any sense of disapproval or maltreatment from anyone.
I felt like I was a customer of utmost importance. And I believe every customer that goes in to Butterfield’s is likely to experience this same treatment. While it is true there were not many items on the menu that I can eat, it is a place that I will go to for breakfast simply because they worked with me to develop a meal that not only left me satisfied in the moment, but fulfilled for the entire day (and I have to note they made the best hash browns I have ever eaten – dry with added butter and salt at the table).
It was a meal experience that left me willing to not only go back, but refer the place to friends, family, and enemies alike. If I were a restaurant critic, they would get 4 of 4 stars.
And yes I tipped the server well, based on the service he gave and the value of the food we ordered, not what we actually paid for the meal.