Management lessons can spring up in the most unusual places. The other day I was accompanying my grandmother for some medical investigations. With long waiting time between appointments, my gastronomic juices were giving up. With my grandma comfortably rested, I headed out the next door eatery.
Normally when I am eating out alone, my expectations from an eating joints are purely transactional. Hygiene, timely service, with some fresh favorite foods stuff traded for some cash. That’s it.. The foodie in me takes a back seat.
So I walked in this neighbourhood eating joint. This one was not the swanky retail food chains that we encounter in malls, but a mom & pop restaurant. I ordered some ‘Dosa’ and was impatiently waiting for food to be served. Given it was 9 pm, the waiter who took my order was surprisingly active. Running between tables, hurling the customer orders to the chef in the kitchen. From order taking, to serving to exchanging cash all his mover were well orchestrated. More so he looked cheerful and passionate about what he was doing.
With my food yet to be served, I kept observing the staff. And I was amused to see almost all of them near replicas of the guy who took my order. All neatly dressed, pleasant and cheerful doing their jobs diligently. By then my order was served and promptly savored it.
And just then, right behind the cash counter hung up on the wall , I noticed a photo frame with a picture of presumably the later owner of this eatery. From the look of the frame it looked as if it was placed recently.
I walked to the cash counter to pay my bill, and got into some small chat with the cashier curious to know about the sudden demise of their later owner. I got to know he had passed away about four months back , and since then it was the staff who was managing the whole show. From opening, to buying kitchen groceries, attending customers, handling cash, closing and all managed by the staff. It seems the one of the owners sons was abroad and the other one in the city, yet remotely involved.
I could not help but dwell deeper on this and two thoughts propped my mind instantly.
- Work Culture : Amazed at the way this late owner would have managed his staff all these years. The kind of work ethics and culture he must have knowingly, unknowingly imparted to his staff. With no one to watch over the staff was spirited and dedicated to their job.
- Customer service: The courteous way in which he would have been treating his patrons all this while, putting all the proponents of customer service to shame. Minimal waiting time, no order goof ups, all so meticulously carried out.