Have you ever wondered what in the world has happened with customer service? Have you ever been a patron somewhere like a restaurant, grocery store, hotel, or retail chain and been astounded by the lack of attention to customer service? These are places whose business is grounded in service to customers yet they pay no attention to the details such as a simple greeting, an inquiry as to the purpose of the visit, how they can be of help, and even a simple wish for a good day.
I remember twenty years ago when you would be hard pressed to find a business who did not go that extra mile to win over the customer (except for the Secretary of State of course whose primary mission is to be rude). I mean.. customers are the ones who make the business what it is... yes? If you are rude to your customer they won't come back. If they don't come back you don't make money, if you don't make money you don't pay bills, and if you don't pay bills...well... you see where I'm going here.
I don't remember exactly when I became an avid customer service freak. Some might say I'm over the top but I'm o.k. with that. I have some significant roots in customer service; my mother is a customer service specialist (sort of a motivational speaker type person), her husband does the same thing, I started my working experience on the grill at McDonald's, and spent many subsequent years in hospitality, serving food and slinging drinks. My first "real" customer service job was as a waitress in a bowling alley and I discovered what it meant to provide excellent customer service because my livelihood depended on it. My hourly wage at that time was $2.13! But with tips I was able to buy a car, get an apartment, afford some new clothes, and even go out on the weekends. It was tight at times with the ebb and flow of the service industry but I discovered with hard work, attention to detail, and always staying on my game that I would o.k. I learned to love customer service as much as I loved the hospitality industry. I had been a cook, a waitress, bartender, hostess, and even a piano player in a lounge...and yes, I bussed many tables in my day and while I hung up my waitress shoes years ago I never lost the connection to it.
I learned to cook and started throwing dinner parties and spending hours and hours in the kitchen and soon I discovered that when I would go out to eat I would leave disappointed in either the food or the service. I struggled with tip amounts, I never sent anything back because of the horror stories about what you might get back, I only complained when it was truly warranted, and eventually I realized that what I can create at home is so much better than what I had been getting. Don't get me wrong, there are some phenomenal places to eat out there and I'll be the first in line when I find something I cannot live without. But these places come with a price...one that constitutes indulgence and is enjoyed sparingly.
As I spent more time in the kitchen and studying all the elements of being a cook, watching shows and videos, reading and reading, taking classes, sampling, inquiring, satisfying my curious mind, I began exploring and experimenting in the kitchen and discovered so many new things that I just had to share with friends. I craved cooking for parties and small crowds, I threw my own dinner parties just so I could cook, I spent hours in the kitchen on holidays (to the point that my family started questioning my social skills), and eventually I met a great guy who helped me realize that this is where I need to be in order to be truly happy.
Now I failed to mention earlier that in my alter life I'm a Private Detective... yeah, yeah.. exciting, glamorous, yada yada...NOT! I love certain elements of the job and I do still dabble, but when you find your passion in something other than what you do for a living, it's time to change what you do for a living to match your passion. So I did!
When engaging in conversation with my right hand man, Darwin, we realized how much we had in common; he bakes and cooks (I know, right?), is an avid customer service aficionado, appreciates fine dining, is truly a gentleman as much as I like to think I am truly a lady, enjoys learning things in and out of the kitchen, and aspires to provide. So we decided that the best way to obtain the customer service we had missed so much is to provide it. It only made sense to combine the cooking and baking skills we have with awesome customer service, so we launched The Penny Loafer, added a trademark loaf of bread as a thank you gift to our clients, threw in a home delivery service for folks on the go or who are unable to cook for themselves, and took our first job about a week later.. it was a smashing success and we were hooked!!
It is my intent to blog about what I know, what I learn, what we offer, and what we're up to. I do enjoy a good tangent every now and again but hopefully there is a lesson to be learned within it. I will share the infinite wisdom of Darwin, some restaurant reviews here and there, and throw in lots of references and tutorials by other fine chefs, cooks, bakers, servers, and even my mom from time to time.
Welcome to our blog...THANK YOU for being a part of our success, and please check back often.