Fast-food restaurants are fascinating places. I know the beef is not grass-fed, nor the chicken free-range, yet because of the sheer volume of clients that demand effective service and are providing these establishments a very slim profit margin, servers must quickly and expertly become tuned in to what works and what doesn't.
Ironically, personalized service often develops because of the limited time to focus on personalized service needs. This runs counter-intuitive to what would seem even better opportunities for learning good service in the sparsely populated service environment of domestic estates, where, it turns out, there is actually less opportunity for honing the very subtle, softer skills required to understand what an individual really wants at a moments' notice, thus differentiating good from ordinary service experiences.
As a result, the fast-food service provider quickly becomes adept at being sensitive to the clients' process of what works for them, not simply their present order. What can we observe and learn from this service environment, to weave into our own developed understandings of domestic service?
Here are my two favorite examples during the past week:
|He correctly focused on my process, not his.|
I thought to myself: he gets it.
Wednesday: Chipotle. The first thing I noticed about her was the T-Shirt. It simply read, "Good is in the details." Just those words, no brand name, and nothing about her restaurant being voted a top favorite at something in the local weekly. After wiping the table next to mine and, with focused purpose, placing the chairs symmetrically opposite each other, she turned and smiled at me.
But wait, don't yawn just yet... it gets better: She held her eye contact with mine, just one moment longer than her company's handbook most likely had told her to do. It didn't cross over into invasive, yet was discernibly longer than what was needed for her to get a satisfactory check-mark on her next evaluation and keep her job. That fraction of a second let me know that she was glad to be serving me.
That burrito tasted better than I had expected.