Last week I wrote about the importance of taking ownership of mistakes. The very next night I experienced first hand what this looks like and felt compelled to share the story here. My mom and I were in the mood for margaritas, so despite previous experiences that weren’t so hot, we loaded the family up and headed to the local Jose Peppers for some yummy queso and 2 for $8 margaritas. There was a pretty long wait, but we were finally seated and our server came over to take our drink orders. He started by informing my mom that they carry Pepsi products. She told him she was more interested in the “margarita products” to which he responded, “If you would have let me finish my sentence, I would have gotten to that.” Ok. Not off to the best start, but we are patient people and decided to let this rude comment slide. But for the next half hour or so, more and more things were happening. None of us received waters, despite our server making a big deal that “anyone who orders alcoholic beverages automatically gets waters, so don’t bother ordering them.” Our boys were so thirsty and we had to ask a different server to bring their waters! It was such a busy night, and as a former server, I completely understand when you are running all over the place taking care of all of your tables and sometimes forget about drinks. But our server was never running, or even walking fast; on the contrary, he was walking so slow and it seemed he only had our table and one other so he wasn’t that busy. In fact, at one point when we were ready to order more drinks, he sauntered to the table next to ours to pick up the ticket and check out what tip was left, but didn’t even glance our direction to make sure we were ok. My food arrived before anyone else’s, which is fine, but after 10 minutes when I was still the only one with food, we were getting a little frustrated. What pushed us over the edge was when our server brought our check before the food! We finally decided to speak to the manager and let him know what had been happening. He did not seem that concerned while my husband was speaking to him, so we figured it was a lost cause and we would just not return to the restaurant. However, within about 3 minutes, everything changed. The manager returned to the table and introduced us to a new server. The young man (who we had noticed was already pretty busy) truly did an amazing job of making the remainder of our experience pleasant. With the help of the manager, he got all of our food out, drinks ordered and delivered, all with a positive attitude and pleasant demeanor, despite the pressure he was under from all of his other tables. We were so impressed with the way the situation was handled, and will definitely return again soon!
This is such a perfect example of taking ownership of a negative situation. Rather than simply saying “I’ll talk to him” and giving us a free dessert (which they did anyway, by the way!), we were given a new server and the opportunity to change our experience from negative to positive. They could have treated us like we were wrong to expect more on such a busy night, but instead they treated us like we deserved to have a great meal and conversation beyond complaining about our server.
Negative situations do not have to define your business; by taking control of the situation and turning it into a positive, you can create customers and evangelists for life!