Everywhere I go and in everything I do, I am looking for ideas, inspiration and that little bit of juju that exists in life. During my delay at JFK Airport last week in New York, I had a delightful experience that I wanted to share with all of you. I had eaten at a bar and grill at this airport called T2 Bonfire Grill, and having been delayed there a few months ago, I knew the food was pretty tasty (I know, pretty unexpected for an airport). After hearing I was delayed, I was calm because I knew exactly where I could go to find my groove. This little corner restaurant was designed for travelers. There was plenty of space to plop a computer bag between the aisles and lots of one person booths so people like me could sit and be productive. Friday night, many flights were delayed which you would think, would put travelers on edge. The place was packed with travelers wanting to get home to their families and their own beds. Then the magic started. Aretha Franklin’s RESPECT was playing in the background (with other fun songs from the 70s and 80s), people were tapping their toes and really, I have never witnessed a team performing so in sync. The waiters and waitresses were floating from table to table, laughing, engaging with the customers, patting each other on the back, giggling amongst themselves like they were having the time of their lives. My favorite was one server who appeared to be a floater. He was hustling drinks out to each table and then continued running to grab food orders that were up on the counter before they could get cold. He would hollar out to let the other servers know he had their table covered and the waiter for that table would wink or high five him. Seriously, I thought I was on the set of a movie because how could these people be having so much fun!
Why is it that this type of enthusiasm and zest for serving food to crabby travelers so unexpected? I am not sure if it impressed me so much because I was in an airport where you are typically lucky to get anything but the basics but I think this type of team dynamics that these co-workers shared would impress about any restaurant patron. Why is it that many times, when we go into a restaurant, it is 10 minutes before anyone even acknowledges that we are there? Or someone doesn’t check back to our table to make sure we have what we need? Maybe we have become a society of impatient people who have too high of expectations but I believe the opposite. I think as small business owners, we need to figure out how we can thrill our clients. We need to give them more than what they are expecting, not less. If a team of people who absolutely loves what they do and care about the people with whom they work, well then, that is something you can deliver that is unexpected and appreciated. And maybe, just maybe people will share you with their friends.