It’s 2 o’clock on a Saturday. Brunch time. My partner, Evan, and I walk into one of our favorite spaces for brunch called, “Urban Solace” located in North Park. I needed quality food and nurturing glass of wine to recover from my night out at the Gaslamp with my crazy mother and her friends.
As we sit down and order our wine, our server introduces herself. She was young, tall, brunette, maybe a few years older than I was, and seemed comfortable in her role as a server.
Meanwhile, I grabbed the menu and ordered an appetizer.
“The tortilla soup please, no cheese.”
And then, I hear it…
“Of course, sweetie, anything else?”
I bite my tongue, and that queued Evan to respond quickly.
“No, that would be it, thank you,” acknowledging my rising temperature.
For those of you who don’t know what I do, I’m a sales representative for a Medical Tech company. I specialize in making people enjoy talking to me so I can sell them our product. Language, tone, and timing are essential in developing the process of your sale. This is why sales reps have to be extremely adaptable. They have to take many different situations and make it work towards their advantage.
So why am talking about sales? Because a food server is also a salesperson. In order to be a great food server, you have to upsell for your restaurant and in turn, raise your pay with a good tip. Here’s where this server fucked up…
Essentially, if I, the customer, have an excellent experience, I will reward my server, return in the future and tell my friends when they are looking for a good spot for brunch. To achieve that end, the server-salesperson should start off by putting her client-customer on a pedestal. You are below them. They are your focus. You are their servant of information. That means using language that degrades them in status is foolish. When talking to clients, I would never use petty baby names like: sweetie, honey, darling, etc… It is extremely derogatory and disgusting. I don’t expect special treatment. But if I heard one of my employees use one of these derogatory terms, they would be fired.
Here is what she should have said..
“Of course, ma’am, let me know if there is anything else you need.”
Why use the word ma’am or sir? Because this title demonstrates respect. By showing respect to your customers, you will reach your goals (upsell and a return customers) and in turn earn more money.
Full disclosure, I did not grow up as a southern girl. My father is the type of guy who doesn’t know which fork to use first, and my mother ignores social cues by ending every conversation with a discussion of politics. Nevertheless, I lived in Texas for a year and a half. And manners are key to friendships and getting ahead.
Now I’m just one individual who sees petty baby names as disrespectful. Another woman could see it as a term of endearment. Most of the time it doesn’t bother them. The problem is that you don’t know which woman sat in your section so I say take the high road, show some respect, and fill up your pockets every day.