The People’s Restaurant
When you commit to serving every customer, sometimes strange things happen. About six months ago we made a commitment. We realized to be the best we could be, we had to put aside pride, attitudes, and focus on the experience. We had to do everything that was possibly to WOW each and every customer. If you visit, Yelp.com, Urbanspoon.com, and Tripadvisor.com the proof is in the words. The service is matched up with food and the other way around and we have a package. The staff is energized and we are entering into our Soup Season strong.
But having said that we still have quirky and crazy situations and I would like to share this one particular instance. I call it “Chasing Down the Customer”. On September 30th at around 5pm in walks a semi regular customer and sits down at a booth #9. He is dining alone and orders an entree that is on special. As he is one of the only ones there in the early hours of dinner, the order is worked on immediately. Then shortly another man comes in and he is also a semi-regular customer as he sits one booth over #10. He also orders and we notice the 2nd man is a Scientologist based on his tie and knowing him from the neighborhood. I mention to the server that he should get a 10% discount because he works in Ybor and thats what we do.
As the first man overhears the talk of discount he gets up and mumbles something about a religious discount and not getting his HCC discount, walks out before his food is delivered to his table. The server lets me know what happened and I walk outside to see if this person is still there. I notice him standing on the corner of 7th and 16th and I decide to walk up him. I ask him if he was just inside the restaurant and if he walked out. He admits that he walked out and that we should be ashamed of giving an institution a religious discount. As I listen to him I notice him getting angry. I asked what if he was a professor at HCC or what if he lived next door. The man stops and starts listening. I tell him that he jumped to conclusions, that we offer a 10% to all those that work and live in Ybor City its our way of giving back to your neighborhood. We don’t judge people and its not our place. I tell him that we have given close to 30,000 cups of soup and that some of those soups may have gone to some very bad people but again its not our place to judge we are in the business of food and feeding people not kicking people out, I couldn’t help but think of the soup nazi yelling no soup for you!! But this is a “mo’ soup for you place” so I kept talking.
He reaches for a $20 bill in his wallet and hands it to me. I look at him and say, “the way I see it either you can keep walking staying hungry $20 lighter or you can go back inside and have something to eat?” “after all the choice is yours”. He went inside and finished his food, I am not sure if he will ever be back again but I do hope he realizes that we care about all customers including him. My employees could not believe I got him to come back, shook their heads and said, the Soupman is tripping again. We are tripping alright, we are tripping to be the greatest we can be!!!
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