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Only one waiter takes orders at a very popular restaurant

April 6th, 2009 · No Comments

There is a very popular restaurant near where I live. It’s always packed, and requires 30 minutes or longer waiting time. I have been to the restaurant for a few times. I was there again last night.

I noticed something interesting: the same waiter takes my order every time. He is very personable, always smiling, and dresses nicely.  Initially, I thought it was just coincidence that I had the same waiter for all of my visits. But, I had a chat with someone who worked in the restaurant last night.

The guy who takes orders is the owner! When he is working (which is five out of six days that they open each week), he takes most of the orders himself. Other waiters only take orders when he is too busy or he is taking the day off. He doesn’t do anything else — he takes orders only. And other waiters/waitress will take it over after the customer has ordered.

Another thing I heard about this owner: he treated his employees really well. The restaurant has been around for almost fifteen years. Many employees have worked there for 10+ years.

Is this a good system? In the spirit of 4 Hour Work Week, one would say that this is a terrible system because the owner is tied to his business all day long. There is no delegation of tasks.

However, from what I saw from this guy, he really enjoys what he does. By personally taking orders from each customer, he is building an ongoing, sustainable relationship. He is also setting an example to his employees how to interact with customers.

If I own a restaurant, I’m not sure if I will personally take every order. But, I do respect how this owner has created a unique system to build a highly successful restaurant.

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Tags: Management · Start-up Success

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