Email that I sent to Bob Poole:
Monday, Cyber Monday would seem to be a not-very-profitable Monday at work… I wait tables at a 4 Star restaurant in Dallas TX. Everyone out and about spending money on stuff they want, and I’m stuck here at work. 3 tables was all I got, that was my allocation of customers that the host stand directed towards my section.
Earlier that morning I spent half an hour pouring over your manifesto, Listen First, by Bob Poole. I give everything a first chance or at least a try… Well, most things. My second table at the restaurant was a guy and his friend, and he was a little upset for not getting a reservation at our place at the time he wanted for the amount of people he wanted to bring in (3 guests + 1, himself). As he voiced his complaint about the manner in which the hostess tried to accomodate him, but couldn’t, sent an email to the owner, from which he never heard from, started name dropping, which didn’t help… Nobody knew who was friends with – I couldn’t help but start to open my mouth and apologize, but stopped short -mid sentence I dropped it. I saw myself giving him the same lines that he already heard from different people, which didn’t help him get what he wanted… A reservation. Instead, I said, after cutting myself short, “Hold on a few minutes, I’ll have this resolved before you’re done with your meal”.
By the end of his meal, I had gone through the host stand, management, upper management and finally the owner voicing my opinion on WHY we should give him his request. But why give him the special treatment. He’s just like all the others. First come, first serve. We’re hot to trot, 4 Stars baby! Lots of people want to come and dine with us. But I gave him priority, not because of what he wanted, but because of his complaints. He voiced a steady and firm upsettedness (sp? Is that even a word?) and I was his vessel. I made it happen.
Turns out Mr. Name Dropper and Frustrated want-to-get-a-6:30-reso-on-a-Saturday-night was one of the largest venture capitalists for restaurants in Dallas… (I Googled him after work) as well as many other projects. He and his guest left satisfied and thanking me to no end. In the check presenter was a generous tip as well as $50 cash (I figure that’s for the maitre’d service provided).