Thursday, June 2

Service: part 1 of 3

our priorities at Vintage are: Service, Product, Speed.  in that order.  Service is always first, Product is second, and Speed is always important - but never more so than Service or Product.

Service is a word that is largely misunderstood and/or misused.  

At some point during the rise of fast food, it became synonymous with speed.  As long as the customer got their food quickly, the mission was accomplished.  Don't get me wrong, Speed is important, it is one of our priorities.  But it never takes the place of Service.

The last 50+ years has seen a domination in the service industry by national chains.  And with that has come a gradual decline in the expectations of consumers.  Service became not a measure of excellence, but instead a minimum expectation level to be met.  As long as the customer is greeted in an acceptable time frame, treated pleasantly, and their needs fulfilled as well as can be expected, all is well.  Right?


Service is from the same meaning as the words: Serf, Servant, Slave.  

A good servant in ancient days was one that happily accomplished the tasks set forth by their master without the need of further prompting (beating, threats, shouting, etc.).  A great servant was one who anticipated their master's needs before the master did.  A great servant was capable of completing tasks often well beyond the skill set of their master.  A great servant quietly and confidently went about accomplishing the business of his master with little or no direction.

Now, certainly, in a society of "all men created equal" i do not intend to infer that those of us in the Service industry are second or third class citizens (although a few spoiled and rude people like to think they can treat us as such).  No, i believe that service personnel are just like everyone, but with a proud and simple mission to accomplish: Excellence.

 Most jobs in our economy are actually Service jobs.  If you buy clothes or groceries or car parts or electronics, the person you talk to is in the business of Service. (NOT a cashier; when did ringing things up become a profession?)  When you need work done on your house or your lawn mowed or technical assistance for your computer, you talk to someone in a Service industry. Even doctors and lawyers are providing a Service.  (Those in elected office would do well to remember that theirs is a position of Service to those who elected them.)

What does REAL Service look like?

i think we see it so rarely anymore, that we hardly know what GREAT service looks like.  in my opinion, a true professional approaches their Service as one who is welcoming a friend into their house.  They want to be sure that their friend is comfortable and if they have food or drink, they share.  A gracious host listens, asks relevant questions, and then listens some more.  They want to know their friend by name (not so they can put them in some database and add them to a mailing list) and what is going on in their life.  A good host makes themselves available to what their friend needs.  Good Service looks more like a relationship than a business transaction.

(CAVEAT - In an attempt to create the appearance of GREAT service, the industry coined the phrase "The Customer is Always Right".  Which, in my opinion, is correct; unless the customer is wrong.  As usual, a few spoiled individuals thought this gave them the liberty to treat those serving them poorly.  Know This: in my business or my home, if you abuse my friends, i WILL ask you to leave.)

Excellent service has been the #1 priority at Vintage since the day we first opened the doors.  We don't just want your business, we want to know you.  We don't imagine Vintage as just another coffee shop, we want it to be THE neighborhood coffee shop (which is why we didn't put it on a busy street). 

Our goal is to provide excellent service to every customer, every time.  We want to anticipate your needs and surpass your expectations.  If i, or any of my staff, fail to do this - please let me know! 

thanks friend!

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