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Who Gets The Latte?

Who Gets The Latte?

I pay a lot of attention to customer service. Perhaps my expectations are high. As a customer, I think I have the right to have high expectations. After all, I am Customer Service, Employee Engagement, Profitabilitygenerally giving my money to someone, to some company in return for a service or a product — or a combination of both.

Recently, I paid attention to how my order is taken and dealt with at several regularly attended restaurants, some fast food, some quick food and some full service.

My take is that most, not all, but certainly most food servers provide the least amount of service they possibly can. Yes, I get my food. I get my meal. At the most basic level, that is what I paid for.

I find that these service employees are not so much proactively providing service, but responding to service requests.

For example, a particular event comes to mind. A colleague and I were at a coffee and sandwich shop. I ordered a coke and a club. She ordered a latte and a salad.

The time it took for our order to come up and be delivered was great — not long. So far, so good. The server brought our drinks to us before the sandwiches. Standing at our table, she asked, “Who has the latte?”

Ok. I know I am being picky. But really, if it is the server’s job to take orders and make sure those orders get fulfilled, why can’t the same server know who gets what order?

This is important to me because I don’t want to be just a number. I want to know that I am getting at least a little bit of legitimate attention from whoever is providing the service. I want to feel special. I don’t think that is asking too much. And, I am the client. I think when I am the client, and I am paying the bill that I have the right to have this level of expectation.

The sandwiches came a little while later. Not much of a wait. The server asked, “Who has the club?”


When I deliver service I want my customers to feel special. I hope all of us providing service want our customers to feel special.

Perhaps, much more importantly, we really want our customers to be special. Remember, our customers are the lifeblood of our business. We do what we do because of our customers. Of course, we want to generate revenue, which requires customers.

Let us all commit to being proactive in how we provide service. Let’s figure out a way to make our customers special.

Here’s an idea: Can the server make a notation of some sort to know which party gets which items ordered? I know this is possible since I have experienced it at some places. I know this is possible, since years ago I worked in food service.

I know my expectations are not inappropriate. I am not lowering my expectations.

As a service provider, I want to regularly increase the expectations of my customers. I want to differentiate what I do from what others do. I want to be proactive with my customers, with the service I provide, with my relationship with my customers.

I want to know if my staff get it. I don’t want my staff to ask, “Who gets the latte?”

Questions to Ponder:

Are you taking steps to be proactive with your customers?

Are you auditing your staff to make sure they are being proactive?

Are you making a point of going after differentiation?



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Philip Espinosa partners with people to deliver value: People | Partnerships | Value serves as his tag line. As a strategic human resources leader, he believes that service starts with the customer. His book "Deliver Excellent Customer Service with a SNAP” helps others drive customer engagement using simple and consistent communication strategies. A second book titled "Focus On Your Success - 24 Simple Insights To Drive Daily Achievement" (ebook) helps working professionals view their daily choices through a different perspective. In addition to his writing, Philip works with strategic human capital initiatives and has delivered successful results over a career spanning more than 25 years.

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