I saw a fantastic YouTube video this morning, about a great food service experience. It made me think, perhaps sometimes we might have a better experience if we started out by being better customers. We are always harping about staff being surly or uninterested but if we start off on the right foot, with a smile or a friendly greeting, that couldn’t hurt, right?
I think that’s one of my favourite reasons I enjoy cooking. Sharing food is almost always a pleasant experience (except say, when your kids don’t appreciate your hard work spent on Sunday dinner). Food cheers people up. You have to be careful not to over-use that sentiment – the odd tub of Haagen-Das or Ben & Jerry’s to drown heartbreak or other sorrows is a worthy remedy, but it shouldn’t be used every time you have a bad day. Besides, wouldn’t you rather have a positive memory attached to such a good treat?
Food memories are important in our lives too. That’s how we decide on what we define as comfort food. Having tuna casserole on cold winter nights while sharing family stories made it one of my childhood faves. And associations of food with other people or places helps to strengthen memories, too. I still remember a summer of “huckle-blue-toons” with my cousins while vacationing at Kootenay Lake in B.C. Those prolific wild berries (we could never figure out if they were huckleberries, Saskatoons, or blueberries) were in pancakes, pies, muffins, and on our hands and clothes, too. Memories like that help me when I am wine tasting; the smell and taste of that experience solidifies “blueberries” in my olfactory system. I am often inspired when experiencing new flavours to try and add them to my mental catalog for future reference. A whiff of cardamom from the chai at an Indian restaurant was an exciting aroma I wanted to remember. It became the impetus I needed to create an exotic version of rice pudding one night at home.
Back to the idea of being a good customer… if I remember a good time and try to repeat that or share it while I am out shopping or dining, can I influence the employees I deal with? I think there is hope; they say that even clinically depressed people feel better after smiling for even a few minutes. (Don’t get me wrong – I am not trying to insinuate that most service staff are clinically depressed.) If it doesn’t work, all I have to do is keep my sense of humour. Laughing is much better medicine than crying.
So, in an effort to give you more ways to keep smiling, here is a link to a fellow blogger who muses about the humour and silliness in everyday commuting, Train Pains… and here is the link for that wonderful video.
If you need more reasons, try these ten reasons to smile:
1. Smiling Makes Us Attractive
2. Smiling Changes Our Mood
3. Smiling Is Contagious
4. Smiling Relieves Stress
5. Smiling Boosts Your Immune System
6. Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure
7. Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers and Serotonin
8. Smiling Lifts the Face and Makes You Look Younger
9. Smiling Makes You Seem Successful
10. Smiling Helps You Stay Positive
Happy Hump Day!
I would like to ask you a question … what is more important – service or product? If you go somewhere, like to a restaurant, and the food is amazing but the service is horrible, will you brave the service again for the sake of a good meal? Or, is it the other way around – you will sacrifice on food for the sake of a great server? I know that ideally we want the entire experience to be wonderful, but where are you willing to skimp?
I am working on starting a company sharing my expertise in guest service, so I would like to ask you for the sake of market research if you will cast your vote in this debate. Please feel free to post other comments as well; I want your opinion!