It’s not about the food

There’s a Chinese restaurant in the town where I work which I visit occasionally for lunch. The food is pretty standard for a Chinese buffet, but the place is always packed. Granted, there aren’t a lot of restaurant choices in that small town, but I don’t think any other establishment (other than maybe McDonald’s, which has a mystique of its own) regularly enjoys that kind of traffic.

What makes the place so special? The food is generally hot and fresh, the decor is not overdone, the housekeeping is good, and the prices are reasonable, but none of those things is extraordinary. It’s Susan. Susan makes the place special.

Susan owns the restaurant, but at any given moment she might be seating customers, checking on them at their tables, taking phone orders, monitoring the food on the buffet, giving instructions to the kitchen, or running the cash register. She has plenty of employees to do all of these things, but Susan is always right in the middle of the action. She’s not above doing any job in her restaurant.

Susan knows her customers by name, and believe me, there are a lot of them. She remembers the details of their lives and asks interested questions. She has something good to say to everyone, whether she knows him or not. She runs a tight ship, making sure everyone is seated and served and satisfied. Most impressively, Susan makes it look easy, and she does it with a smile on her face. 

I’ve never been in that restaurant when it hasn’t been busy. Susan knows how to serve customers; she’s got success written all over her.

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