Customer Hall of Fame

Dear Parents-Thank You for Raising Considerate Customers

Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Fame

Posted: 09/10/2018

Today’s post comes compliments of Fallyn Taylor, a member of the Server Not Servant Facebook Group:

Dear parents of the group of 5 kids who sat in my section today-

As a server, I don’t really expect much from tables of teenagers. I treat them like any other table, give them the same level of service I would an older couple, but I fully expect to be run ragged and tipped poorly. Your kids knew what they wanted when they sat down. They asked for extra ranch while placing their orders. They kept their voices at a reasonable volume while still chatting and having a good time. They were kind and considerate of the other diners in my section.

 When it was time for them to go, they asked for the bill, 59 dollars.  I ran their card and dropped off the slip for them to sign. I saw them using their phone to calculate what the tip should be. When I came back, they had already gone. They stacked up all of their dishes, grouped together their cups, and collected their trash. They tipped me $12. Your kids made my day. I genuinely hope they come back.

I know this is a weird post but these kids were 9-16 years old and the perfect table. When they sat down another server said something to the effect of, ‘that sucks” (dealing with kids). But they were just so awesome, it made my little heart happy.  😊

Thank you for sharing, Fallyn. SO refreshing to read, and nice of you to take the time to share. I was in a pizza joint at a communal table in Boston, with a gentleman and his 2 young kids sitting across from me. When they were done eating, the man asked one of his boys to bring the tray and trash/recycle to the proper spot, and had his other son help him wipe down their area. In front of both of his children he said, “We want to leave it nice and clean for the people who sit here next, the way we’d want to find it.” I looked at the woman sitting next to me–we were both in awe of what we witnessed. It’s unfortunate that these instances are anomalies. Faith in humans momentarily restored…

Please share your stories and comments below. And please share this post on social media if the spirit moves you.

PS- If you are interested in supporting this Server Not Servant blog, and helping to bring the book to fruition, please see the blue box on the right hand side of this blog post labeled, “Support Server Not Servant” to make a contribution. All donations of $20 or more will include a copy of the forthcoming book. I am also seeking corporate and private book sponsors. Email Cheers-Patrick

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Bin Ends Wine Celebrating Anniversaries in Braintree and Needham, MA

Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Fame

Posted: 07/9/2018

**Sponsored Content**

On rare occasions, I post content on this blog to promote charitable events or for clients of my PR, Social Media & Hospitality Consulting business for people and businesses I’m proud to work with. Please email patrick@servernotservant for future consideration. Thank you.

I’m honored to be working with John Hafferty and Cara Cicconi Hafferty of Bin Ends Wine and to share the good news about the anniversaries of their shops in Braintree and Needham, MA. Please keep John, Cara, and Bin Ends in mind if you need wine/liquor store perspective or consultation for future features on wine, beer, spirits, entrepreneurship, small biz, Mom and Pop shops, or anything else they can help with. And please consider sharing this post to congratulate John, Cara, and their team.

Announcement-Bin Ends Summer 2018

Bin Ends is proud to announce the summer celebration of the 10-year anniversary of their Braintree store, and the 5-year anniversary of their sister store in Needham. The concurrent anniversaries are being celebrated with the launch of a new website for expedited online purchases, a community dinner, and special events in both stores.

Bin Ends is a local, independent retailer of fine wine, craft beer, and artisan spirits founded in 2008. Managing Partner, John Hafferty, with nearly 30 years of experience in the fine wine trade, has dedicated his career to the idea that a bottle shared can quickly turn strangers into lifelong friends. Before opening Bin Ends, John worked for nearly a decade as fine wine portfolio manager and buyer for M.S. Walker, one of New England’s largest and most respected fine wine wholesalers.

John tastes every wine sold at Bin Ends and works closely with vendors to provide “Great Wines at Serious Savings” for savvy wine buyers and novices alike. Bin Ends has a passionate and knowledgeable staff eager to help you find wines that you will love. They offer daily features via a unique e-commerce platform and popular in-store tasting events, Fine Wine Flea Markets, and Fine Wine Estate Sales. They also host popular in-store food and wine pairing seminars and wine dinners that are held in restaurants and unique settings throughout greater Boston.

Loyal, repeat customers travel from all over New England to explore their unique selections, engage the friendly staff, and take advantage of their highly competitive pricing. Once again, Bin Ends is proud to be named “#1 Liquor Store” for 2018 by Wicked Local for both their Needham and Braintree locations.

Mission Statement-Bin Ends

At Bin Ends, it is our mission to create the best possible retail experience by providing superior customer service and offering a unique selection of wines, beers, and spirits at “Serious Savings.” We also use our business as a vehicle to champion small producers around the globe. By supporting boutique wineries, artisanal distilleries, and craft breweries, we are actively working to preserve the culture and tradition of family and locally-owned enterprises.

Upcoming events:

1. Bin Ends Fine Wine Estate Sale: Saturday, July 14th from 2-8pm in Needham.

2. Vive La France Wine Dinner: July 22nd at 5:30pm at Just Right Farm, Plympton, MA. Tickets $150 includes tax and gratuity. Buy online.

3. Bin Ends Fine Wine Flea Market: Sunday, July 29th 1-5pm in Braintree.

Bin Ends Locations:

236 Wood Road                   65 Crawford Street

Braintree, MA                      Needham, MA

02184                                     02494

Social Media:


Instagram: @binendswine

Twitter: @binendswine



Sign-up for Bin Ends Newsletter

Thank you very much for sharing in the celebration of anniversaries at Bin Ends. Congratulations and cheers to John, Cara, and the team at Bin Ends.

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Legendary Regulars

Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Fame

Posted: 11/28/2011

Today’s post comes courtesy of Darren Tully, a loyal reader and commentor on this blog. Darren works at a take-away food counter in Dublin, Ireland. He sent me the following email over the weekend that I am sharing with his permission. This is priceless.

I love customers who you can have a laugh with. One of my regulars, I’ll call her “Mel”, is like that. Mel is 80 years old, and despite needing a zimmer frame, she insists on waiting like everyone else to place her order. She is unbelievably funny and always has a kind word to say, even if she has a complaint to make. I admit that I’m very fond of her. She always asks to speak to me whenever she’s in, and I consider her to be like one of my great aunties.

I was on closing shift tonight so there were only two of us, myself on counter and my friend on tables and dish room. Out of nowhere we got a mini rush in the last 15 minutes. As lines go, it was no big deal. There was no huge wait for the customers, but I had one incredibly impatient woman in the line, a nominee for your Customer Hall of Shame.

When I finally got to serve her I greeted her with a big smile, but before I could say anything she snarled, “Tea to go, NOW!” And that was it–she didn’t speak to me again, she only glared for the rest of transaction. I don’t really understand why she acted that way, I was serving everyone ahead of her in a speedy and friendly manner, but I guess there is no pleasing some people.

Mel was in the line behind her and watched the whole thing. As the woman was walking away, Mel shuffled up and said, “Not enough dick, that’s what her problem is.”, loud enough for everyone, including the woman, to overhear. It was so funny. The other customers were either giggling or standing slack-jawed, and the woman was shaking with indignant rage as she left.

I thought I was going to explode from holding the laughter in, I honestly don’t know how I wasn’t rolling around on the floor behind the counter. 

I absolutley love customers like “Mel”. Here’s to Darren Tulley and all of the Mel’s of the world who speak up and say what every worker would love to, but can’t. Mel is a shoo-in for my Customer Hall of Fame.

Please share your stories about customers who have come to your defense and called out other asshole customers. Thank you.

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Regular or Irregular?

Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Fame

Posted: 07/27/2010

Restaurant workers are a unique breed. Cagey veterans are durable, resourceful and irreverently funny. They’ve seen and heard it all. They put their game face on and deliver great hospitality shift after shift, double after double, week after week. Despite their resiliency, it’s hard to always be the life of the party when they’re running on fumes, the laundry and errands are piling up at home, and funds are tight. The daily grind takes its toll on even the most seasoned servers.

A good friend of mine was working a double last week on an outside patio during the heat wave in Boston. When I touched her back and kissed her cheek to say hello she was sweating so much that she was clammy. The air conditioning was so ineffective at the restaurant that she spent her forty-five minute break in her car with the AC cranking. Despite her predicament, she was still joking and smiling—a true professional.

I’ve been working with and talking to restaurant workers for more than twenty eight years, and one thing that keeps them going, along with their sense of humor, is their good, repeat customers. Regulars can be lifesavers, or be the bane of a server’s existence.

Frequent flyer credits don’t guarantee you good regular status in a restaurant. Many repeat customers are loathed by the staff. The very sight of them evokes a visceral reaction nearly impossible to disguise. I’ve heard several of these gems bragging to their friends about what a “regular” they were, while the staff ridicules and curses them. A lot of bad regulars are clueless.

So what separates a good regular from an irregular?

I used to frequent a Boston restaurant so often that the GM put my name into the Micros computer system under “Maintenance” as a joke, and told me that he had punched the time clock for me if I was running late. (Hopefully I wasn’t high maintenance.) An extremely eccentric woman, with darting eyes, also frequented the same restaurant. She always sat alone with her book at the bar and rarely said a word to anyone. Without fail, if you sat close to her, she would lift her head from her book, stare into your eyes, and lean in to listen to your conversation, never looking away—very awkward and creepy. Naturally the staff dubbed her, “The Listener.” (All restaurant regulars have nicknames.)

At another restaurant I frequented, a very loquacious, clinging regular was notorious for sidling up to customers at the bar, befriending them, convincing them to let her try a bite of their food, and then eating a good portion of it. She was a mooch, and I was often a victim until I caught on to her ruse. I distinctly remember her saying, I love this place. Everyone shares their food. I bit my tongue, but wanted to reply, No they don’t, you steal it!

Kat, a reader and commenter on this blog writes, Regulars, the kind that make you smile when you see them sit in your section, who remember your name, just like you remember theirs, who take an interest in you as a human being, not just the purveyor of sustenance, are absolutely the best. The ones that have cared enough to ask for my name (I don’t generally volunteer it) and to remember it, who notice that I love my job and genuinely appreciate the way in which I do it, those people are the reason I go to work. These stupendous customers are probably about 20% of the total, just like the truly difficult ones, but they make it so much easier to deal with the other 80% and are always a great reminder of the reasons I’m in the service industry.

Serving fellow human beings food and drink is an intimate and personal experience. Great hospitality is a two-way street. If you frequent a restaurant, it is incumbent upon you to know if you’re a good regular or just a regular pain in the ass. Let’s open the discussion up to restaurant industry experts, and every other service industry worker to clarify the difference.

Please describe your favorite regulars. What do they say and do that makes them enjoyable to serve? What sets them apart from other guests?

Please describe the irregulars that make you cringe when they walk through the door. What makes them so difficult? Do they try to use their frequent flyer status to curry favor? Do you think they have any clue that they’re a royal pain in the ass? How do you and your co-workers deal with them? What are their nicknames and why? What would you tell them if you could?

Please forward this post to anyone who might want to join the conversation. Thank you.

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Best Customers Ever

Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Fame

Posted: 06/30/2010

As promised, I will occasionally post a question from the questionnaire I’m using to gather research and stories for my book. If you’re interested in completing the full questionnaire, please click on the Submit Your Stories tab at the top of the post.

Unfortunately the stinging comments made by the 20% of customers who are impolite, disrespectful or downright rude, linger with us long after the customers leave. I’ve received emails from service industry workers sharing war stories from decades ago in vivid detail. Personally, I still remember the condescending comments made by customers when I was bartending like, Good thing you went to college, implying that I wasted my time pursuing a degree.

 What entitles anyone to make judgmental comments like that? Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I’m a big fan of the underdog.

As my good friend, Greg Reeves often says, It’s really not that hard to do the right thing. How true. Too bad not everyone got the memo…

Shifting gears, let’s turn our attention to the positive experiences we’ve all had with great customers. Exceptionally gracious people can also make a lasting impression.

Question #12: What adjectives would you use to describe the best, most refreshing customers you’ve had over the years?

In addition to the adjectives, please include a brief summary of some of the best experiences you’ve ever had with customers, and what made them memorable. Enjoy the July 4th weekend. Thank you-PM

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