A blog by Luke Thomas, Performance Coach & Director of Spring
This week I was working in Newcastle. Christmas was in the air – Eldon Square was busy and I had a few hours for wifi, coffee and some grub before heading to the airport.
Pizza Express caught my eye.
A wide smile welcomed me through the door, helped me to a quiet corner, asked me about my day coaching in the city and chatted about the buzz that evening.
I was free to spend time there having a drink, doing some work and watching the world pass by. Even though the place was heaving – the team were relaxed, welcoming and were enjoying themselves. So often you feel rushed along in places like that – as if they want you in and out as fast as possible.
There didn’t seem to be one person obviously managing the place – yet customers were seen quickly, orders turnaround swiftly and the atmosphere was really good. The waiting team wasn’t running around frantically just purposefully.
It might be a chain model restaurant – but it worked, and delivered much more than you’d expect.
The pasta dish I had was deeeeelicious! So good, I told the waitress. This was the moment of truth:
She was excited to hear it and said “let’s tell the kitchen then.” She dashed over to the open kitchen and told one of the guys, who immediately called over to me to start chatting. Admitting he hadn’t cooked the meal though, he was equally excited to tell me that his colleague had. They both called him over to talk! He was genuinely as pleased as punch, to know how much I liked his cooking. You should have seen the look on this face.
It struck me just how much they cared for each other.
I also noticed that when the waitresses weren’t keeping up with orders, the kitchen team was aware and helped with bringing food out. They looked out for each other.
They appeared to be really clear on the high standards they wanted. They made it fun, coming across as passionately determined to give customers a great time.
It was like watching the ‘Fish!’ Video so many companies extol. Suffice to say, I’m going to contact the manager for a chat. The team gets great results.