How do you grab market share in a down economy? Easy, “WOW” your customers.
When times are tough, one of the first things people cut back on is eating out. You’re competing with the same number of restaurants for a shrinking number of diners. Your competitive advantage is in the service you provide. The “customer experience” is more important than ever.
Creating a great customer experience is easy if you’ve embraced the Bada-Bing Philosophy. This is my own simple philosophy for providing great service. It’s like the Fish Philosophy but without the smell of dead mackerel. The Bada-Bing incorporates one maxim, 2 steps and 3 simple tools.
THE MAXIM: “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.” Now, I’m not saying, “If you’re not having fun, don’t do it,” because that’s quitting. I’m saying “find a way to make it fun”. No matter how boring or distasteful a task may be, there is always a way to make it more Fun. The 7 Dwarfs knew that; they whistled while they worked – even Grumpy. But I understand he was heavily medicated. I’m not judging.
To make slinging omelets fun, one of the things I used to do when I was the only cook at the Elephant & Castle in the Village was to do a Play-by-Play. You’ve done it; you take some mundane or repetitive activity and you raise it to the level of epic proportions. When I looked up and saw a long row of dupes, I wasn’t stressed; it became an Olympic event – and I did the Play-by-Play.
“Vinny Verelli is now the U.S.’s last chance to get the gold medal. He takes a deep breath and … there’s the bell! He quickly surveys the slips of paper hanging in front of him, scanning for any burgers hidden among the omelets. There’s one, there’s another. With blinding speed he’s got the two patties on the grill and turns his attention to the stove. Look at him go.” This would go on and on until the tickets were whittled down to size. This was something I would do to keep a positive attitude, to manage the negative effects that can turn overworked into overstressed.
Of course having fun at work is a direct relation to management. If the overall environment is oppressive, it’s more difficult to have fun. Having fun is an attitude that can and should be taught and encouraged.
We can’t control all the things that happen to us, but we can control how we react to them. We hear that all the time. “We choose our attitude.” It’s such a cliché. But it’s true. Abraham Lincoln said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I say make up your mind to be happy; make up your mind to have Fun.
The following quote is one of my favorites and has become an affirmation for how I approach the day: “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” Groucho Marx
In my next post we’ll look at the 2 steps in the Bada-Bing.
Vinny Verelli is actually character actor Jonathan Schwartz with over 40 years of professional experience. Although he was a “frustrated” actor, he spent 15 years working in restaurants giving 100% and having fun. Vinny is a humorous motivational speaker and conference host. Vinny also has fun making cooking videos and Blogging at CookingWithVinny.com.
* When I worked at the Elephant & Castle in the late 70’s, early 80’s, they were known for omelets: 23 varieties. Today there are only 6 omelets on the menu. The kitchen was so tiny I could flip burgers with one hand while flipping an omelet with the other.