Serving up strategy

“Can I get you another drink?” asked the waiter.
We’d just been seated, at a table for two after a considerable wait at the bar. We had arrived, without reservations, at the newly opened Cowiche Canyon Kitchen + Ice House, in downtown Yakima, Washington.
Cowiche Canyon Kitchen + Ice House,
The Yakima Valley is responsible for about 75% of domestic hop production, so I ordered a beer: Top Cutter IPA from Bale Breaker Brewing Company. Amanda ordered a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from Spring Creek, a local vineyard.
“Right away,” said our server as he turned on his heel.
I liked that. Right away. Sure makes a fellow feel important.
He offered the same two-word reply when we ordered an appetizer of spring rolls. When I overheard the waitress at the next table respond in kind to a request from the diners there, I understood that it was training, not ambition, that was behind the acknowledgement.
The staff at Cowiche Canyon had a catch phrase.
If the communicator in me loved this for its content and tone, the entrepreneur in me respected the training and consideration that was clearly behind the delivery. When a business owner takes the time to help shape responses so that the customer interacts with the business in a certain way, the public can expect a well-crafted experience. Why?
When  an organization has systemized the way a product or service is presented, it stands to reason that they’ve already sorted out how that product works, how it looks, what the value of it is, and have identified an established need and a marketplace.

Spring Rolls
The Spring Rolls at Cowiche Canyon Kitchen.

Cowiche Canyon Kitchen + Ice House logoAfter having traveled across the country, I ordered a New York Strip and a baked potato.
Did the catch phrase season my steak into the best meal I’d ever eaten? No. But: the meal was good; the environment was eclectic and modern. The restaurant branding was a predictable hipster cross-bones, but I even appreciated that for being current, if trendy. I certainly didn’t see anything else like it locally, having spent 10 days in the Seattle and Eastern Washington market, so, here’s to a little Brooklyn in the desert.
The funniest part is: it didn’t come right away. The place was packed. Every table was full, and the wait was 45 minutes. All in all, it didn’t really matter. The beer was great, the place was neat, my date was beautiful, and we felt considered.
Front line employees are essential to any venture. How people feel when they’re interacting with a particular company is almost as important as whatever business is being done. While this may sound like Hospitality 101, the consideration of, and interaction with clients is where any company communicates, so that decisions can be made quickly and efficiently.
It’s important to be able to back up the rhetoric, however. Salesmanship is one thing, execution is another. Without processes in place, and a dedicated approach, it can be difficult to produce the results that a statement like right away infers. An accountable staff that takes responsibility for how resources are used can prioritize deliverables and balance timelines.
Still, if your sole purpose is to complete a transaction, rather than establish a relationship that has some degree of plausibility, sooner or later your right away will be taken for what it really isI really liked how right away felt, figuratively, organizationally, and personally.
It seems to me that craft and system both have the greatest prospect of enduring when they work together rather than in isolation. I feel lucky to have witnessed the fruits of one company’s effort to combine protocol with experience, efficiency with consideration. We have a great team here and the dance between right away and right on has begun.