Monday, June 9, 2008

Baby on Board

Baby on Board

I am no psychologist; I am a restaurateur, which is why I believe I deserve a degree in psychology. Having a high profile restaurant necessitates wearing a bullet proof uniform. For nearly 30 years I have been tending to basic human needs and during this time I have unearthed a cultural malaise.

Too often I relate a new customer’s unjustified complaint to how much attention a patron at a nearby table receives. There are those who believe all customers are created equal. I, however, cannot agree. I would like to, but how can you treat a customer who has been coming for years in the same manner as a first time visitor? You get to know a regular. You comment on a conversation from his/her/their last visit.

A plethora of articles have been written about caring more for your employees, and about employees caring more about customers. Some people have immature personalities, whether employee, customer or owner, even if they seem adult. I have found the more control and authority a person projects, the more chronic their insecurities. That is when a small error or disagreement on your part turns into a vague yet major crisis.

The psychological sickness creeps in when this personality type acquires self-esteem from others. It is a constant need for recognition, and it creates havoc in the workplace and social milieu. There is no right to reassurance. I try to like all of my customers and all of my employees, but they want more. They want love.

It’s not bad. It is just that true love cannot be had easily. If only we could know about these personality types ahead of time. I know some regular customers who are psychologically demanding--and you know what? We do love ‘em, so they keep coming back. In the sea of fine dining throw out a CUSTOMER PRESERVER. Try to learn about psychology to help turn negatives into positives.

However, if a new client hangs one of those little square yellow signs on his seat which reads, “Baby on Board,” it would let us know instantly that we should be extra cautious. Then it could be love at first sight!