Select the right words. Say them well.


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Business books don’t always make for the most fascinating reading, but I’ve come across an exception that I think you may enjoy. Written by New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer, “Setting the Table” is a great look at the importance of “service,” and how to keep that critical issue front-and-center everyday in your work.

Constant, Gentle Pressure:

As you can imagine, offering a clear picture of service is huge within the restaurant world, but it also can be said for all of us. That’s where constant, gentle pressure comes in. Meyer sets a standard by using all three of those words to keep the message clear:

– Constant — there is never a let down in the standards, so people don’t start setting their own rules. It is there always, and it comes from the organization’s leader.

– Gentle — it is not about tyranny from above. There are gentle reminders about the standards that are part of being a member of the organization. Respect for all is communicated from the top.

– Pressure — without pressure there will be no energy behind the process. While it is applied gently, there is no doubt that the pressure is there to uphold the standards.

Hiring Hospitalitarians:

Meyer explains that he looks “to hire people to whom caring for others is, in fact, a selfish act.” He calls these people “hospitalitarians.” He says, “…the more opportunities hospitalitarians have to care for other people, the better they feel.” If you find someone like that, they don’t have to be told to provide great service and connect with your customer, they do it because it is who they are!

Writing a great final chapter:

Whenever a mistake occurs in one of Meyer’s restaurants, the staff endeavors to “write a great final chapter.” What that means is finding a way to end the story on an up note. Sure the waiter spilled the wine, but they had the jacket back from a one-hour dry-cleaner by the time desert was served! Knowing someone will tell others about a bad experience, the goal is to come up with a great final chapter to the story that will underline the great service the business provides.

One Size Fits One:

Finally, while we’ve all heard the expression “One Size Fits All,” Meyer and his team try to distinguish themselves in just the opposite direction. One Size Fits One. Similar advice was given to me when I started my business and it has proved to be a great road map. No one wants to feel they are getting the same, predictable treatment as everyone else. Distinguish yourself by providing that “One Size Fits One” level of service!