Recently I accompanied my husband on a work road trip to the sleepy town of Tuscola Illinois located just south of Champaign and west of the Indiana border. On the way there, we checked out Trip Advisor to see if there was a hotel we could stay at and anywhere to eat. Flesor’s Candy Kitchen jumped to our attention. Opened in 1901, the diner and candy store are now being run by Ann and Devon, The Flesor Sisters. It is a great little place with the original beautiful dark wood fixtures, antique tile floor, 1947 marble soda fountain, and a brass cash cage station. It was like stepping back in time to walk into this building.
I came in and was immediately greeted by a woman washing glasses behind the old phosphate fountains. There was a flurry of activity everywhere. As I sat at the counter to look over the menu, I heard the woman orchestrating the other workers. “Eric can you bring up another tub of ice cream?” “Sara please help behind the candy counter.” “Jessica can you deliver these malts?” First I realized that the woman who greeted me was actually Devon, one of the owners. Second, I was amazed that the staff, ranging in age from high school students to a woman who jokingly said she is going through menopause for the third time, was all cross-trained. They moved seamlessly between waiting on tables, delivering food, bussing tables, cleaning tableware, running the register, boxing individual candy orders, hand dipping chocolates, and making malts, sodas and sundaes. Plus they were having fun! They even encouraged the entire diner to sing happy birthday to a little girl. And it wasn’t the cheesy corporate restaurant obligatory song. It was heartfelt. Even through the hustle and bustle and some minor mishaps, the tone of the group was positive, helpful and considerate of their patrons and each other. It was really an amazing experience and a joy to be in an establishment where the workers worked hard and were still real people who you would like to be around.
My husband and I experienced similar excellent service during a brief layover at the Holiday Inn in Dallas Fort Worth. The driver of the free shuttle confirmed that we were going to the correct hotel before loading up our luggage. The desk clerks confirmed our reservation, offered us a snack, and took care of our request to store some items in the restaurant freezer without batting an eye. Requesting and receiving a 4:00 am ride back to the airport was again no problem (for the staff at least). The chef even came out to our table honestly wanting to hear our thoughts about his new creation. I couldn’t remember the last time every element of an overnight stay was phenomenal.
Could this be a resurrection of the dying art of customer service? Do you know of any other businesses which still understand and embody true customer service? Share your story with us here.