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  • Jay Zweibaum

The Joys of a 30 Second Transaction

How do you know that you are in the right business? When are you most happy at work? I’m sure many of you think about this all of the time. But what experiences really validate those feelings?

I have had the pleasure in my career of going through many types of training: Advanced Leadership, Strategic Leadership, Sales, Lean Six Sigma, Coaching, etc. ...all of which were great and I incorporated them into my life…but I always think about how delivering great guest experiences makes me happy and how that training was the most rewarding. But why and how do I know it? Is it in my core being to serve others? Is delivering great hospitality rewarding in and of itself? Probably all of that…but here is when I truly realized that I am indeed in the right business:

Many years ago (and I won’t tell you how long), I had the privilege of leading a team at a very large food service operation at an investment banking company client location in NYC. We had a very successful coffee bar in a very small footprint. Every morning, we would have a line of customers more than 40+ deep. We could not even put another employee behind the counter to help, but we were super-fast as our customers were loyal and consistent.

Occasionally, I would jump behind the counter and help take orders and serve our guests to speed things up. The average transaction was 10 seconds and no more than 30 seconds. My goal each time, and with each customer, was to provide a quicker service, acknowledge their loyalty, appreciate their business and coax out a smile in their hectic NYC morning. I’d like to think that I was pretty successful in motivating the team and having some fun with our customers.

But, as I think about that experience and that little bit of effort, I realize that I was getting more out of the customer (and team) interaction then they received. Yes!, they smiled, but I left those few minutes grinning from ear to ear, feeling energized and ready to take on the day…I’m definitely in the right industry. It is people, our guests and our teams, that make our business so rewarding and ultimately why we are here.

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