Improv and service recovery

Rich from Hello World in South Africa adds a nice riff to yesterday’s post on Miles Davis. He relates the idea of improvising to service recovery, recalling his days as a waiter.

I remember a lot of the other waiters getting overly upset with the grillers when they made the occasional mistake with an order. It never bothered me though. I was almost always guaranteed an extra 5% tip when there was a mistake, because I got to show how well I handled it. Damage recovery is one of the very few times you get to show-off. It’s often difficult to shine when all is running as expected.

Nice story.

By the way, I get a child-like thrill that a post by a guy in Texas is picked up in London and embellished in Johannesburg.

2 thoughts on “Improv and service recovery

  1. Tim

    I can echo Rich’s point. I experienced the same when working for the Uk’s Cafe Rouge chain.

    Occasional mistakes can be dealt with using improv but if you’re a manager on Sat night and the chef decides he’s pissed off for some reason…

    That’s when you’ve got problems.

    Still miss it though – gave a fantastic buzz.

  2. Johnnie Moore

    Thanks Tim. People, including me, spend a lot of energy trying to avoid mistakes, but mistakes are often the cue for the things that make life exciting and memorable. There’s a big chunk o’ wisdom in here somewhere!


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