You want a macchiato?

I am always impressed by people who deliver good service. In business, that usually means going the extra mile and surprising the customer. The result of that surprise is that they will tell their friends and, in my case, blog about it. So, from time to time, I will tell you about experiences that have made an impression on me over the years. Often it is just a staff member – not an owner or manager – who feels sufficiently valued and has a sense of ownership for the service they deliver, that makes them do something worth writing about.

Some weeks ago, I was in San Jose, California. It was a business trip, but my girlfriend [I have trouble with this terminology – at my age it does not sound quite right. “Partner” is wrong, as we do not live together. Suggestions would be welcome.], Libby, came along for fun. One evening, a small group of us went to an Italian restaurant just down the street. The place was busy, but the waiter was attentive and the resulting service was fine. The food was more than satisfactory, the wine flowed and we were having a very pleasant evening.

The meal was coming to an end and there was the question of coffee. Libby asked if they could do a macchiato [espresso with a bit of milk foam on top]. Our friendly waiter said he was very sorry, but they did not do macchiatos. This is not too uncommon and no big deal. A few minutes later, he showed up with the coffee she wanted – a macchiato. He apologetically explained that we would need to pay for this separately, as he had gone to the [rather fancy] restaurant next door to get it. He would need to pay when he returned the cup.


Now, is that going the extra mile, or what? Guess which restaurant I will be going to next time I am in San Jose. And, of course, lots of people who hear this story will be going there too. I bet the waiter is quite unaware that he is in marketing. It is not my policy to advertise other companies here, so please email me if you want the restaurant details.


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