A Customer Service Lesson from a Hungry Toddler

My happy little niece and I

My sister and I meet for lunch at the Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar in Rancho Cucamonga. She brings her 1 1/2 year old daughter, Bailee, with her. I’m a very happy aunt and love spending time with my niece.

The restaurant was very busy, which we expected, but we didn’t wait long for our table.

We placed our orders with our waitress shortly after sitting, making an emphasis on bringing Bailee’s food out before everyone else’s. She was starting to get fussy and my sister, as any busy new parent can do, forgot the snacks in a bag at home.

About 25-30 minutes goes by and we do not have our food yet. Bailee is crying now and her voice is starting to raise.

She sort of turns into an angry tomato at this point.

I see another waitress walk by and ask her if she can let our waitress know to bring Bailee’s food. She says yes, she will absolutely do that. We flag down our waitress and she says that Bailee’s food is on the “priority list” to come out first. Try telling that to a hungry toddler, though. The words “priority list” don’t mean anything at this point.

Out of nowhere, another waitress, named Jessica, zooms toward our table from across the restaurant. She hands my niece a Lazy Dog bracelet.

She also says, “Can I bring a plate of fries to your table while you wait for her food?”

My sister and I say yes at the same time.

When she brings back the fries, she says, “I have a son about her age and I know that if there’s no food when he’s hungry, it’s going to go downhill fast!”

We thank her numerous times and Bailee starts munching on fries. Shortly after, she resumes her smiling and laughing.

We are eventually served our meals, but Bailee’s meal of grilled chicken and avocado ends up coming out last. So much for the “priority list”.

Note: I’m not going to go into the “priority list” issue here, as I don’t know the specific details on how this works nor did I ask during our visit. It just wasn’t important at the time.

Of course, I always look for take-aways when it comes to situations like this.


Jessica was #FreeToHelp

Jessica was a waitress that was #FreeToHelp in a situation that wasn’t even in her designated customer area. She just happened to be walking by and took it upon herself to step into the situation and offer assistance.

Jessica was empahetic

Empathy went a long way here. Jessica knew the situation – a fussy baby ready to explode – because she has one of her own. She was able to step in to my sister’s shoes, feel her pain and bring a free plate of fries to the rescue.

Jessica must have a great boss

For a waitress to step away from her customers on a busy Sunday afternoon, even if for 2 minutes, shows that her leadership team empowers her to truly help customers, no matter what.

I wrote an email to the management to compliment Jessica on her awesome attention to this situation. I love taking the time out to recognize the good done in the day to day world of customer service, as this is so often overlooked. This wasn’t a monumental problem that needed to be resolved.

It was simply one mother helping out another mother, which in my eyes, goes right back to the root that customer service really is people helping people.

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