First-World Problems…Reward Excellence And Punish Mediocrity

At the risk of violating the low standards of this weekly post, I am going to discuss something that while it is unarguably a first-world problem, it is also an issue in our current social and economic predicament.

Recently I ate at an excellent restaurant that is also quite popular, so they manage their reservations by not taking any, and just allowing their customers to place their names on an internet list…first-come, first-served. They text when the table is almost ready, which seems to work well. But my companion was 20 minutes away and the very busy restaurant had a table for us…NOW!

It would be easy to skip over a late customer and simply move on, but they chose to accommodate us and told me to come back when we were ready. This is a popular NYC restaurant that has waits that routinely exceed two hours, and there is no shortage of willing customers.

To make things even more impressive, the meal was excellent and the waiter who served us (at the bar no less…my favorite place to eat) was efficient and friendly and made the meal better.

When we left I asked to speak with the manager, and I complemented the service and specifically pointed out the two people who were impressive. Sadly, he looked relieved that I wasn’t a far more typical customer who wanted to complain, but he appreciated the positive feedback.

It is easy to complain, and most of us do it. But it is just as important to reward excellence, and in our world of low employment rates and regular government checks and the impending demographic issues of an aging population, we want to send the message that a job well done is a job worth doing for reasons other than pay.

By the way, this restaurant has a no-tipping policy, which normally would have me despairing of ever getting good service. But their management makes it work, which is a testament to them and their hiring!