It’s funny how many restaurants try to concoct “fun” atmospheres and make customer service a process. There’s nothing genuine about it, and we all know it when we see it. It’s so common that the movie “Office Space” has a few “Flare” scenes to mock the approach. Here’s one of them….
Then there are places that realize you can keep it simple and still get it right. Five Guys is notorious for minimal decorations and very simple layouts and interiors. A bunch of plain wooden tables. Not much on the walls. Certainly no “flare” on their employees. I ate lunch at one with my three year old son today, and we had a great experience. It was great because of two simple gestures by the manager.
First, my three year old son tried to give him my credit card so that he could pay for lunch for us. But the manager moved his hand aside each time my son tried to hand him my card. After a couple of times my son caught onto the game and started laughing. So he quickly won over my son. Then, when our number was called, we went to pick up our lunch and the manager – still at the register – looked over and caught my eye. He simply said, “Hey thanks for coming in today sir.” He held eye contact and – this is the key – I could absolutely tell he meant it. His thanks was genuine. That’s all it took. We’ll go back. Now, we’d go back at some point anyway because we love their burgers. But you can bet my son will be asking me to take him back in a day or two, because he now associates Five Guys with having a funny man at the cash register. And since I received a genuine thank you, I will be happy to take him.