Taking a break for lunch, we stepped inside the “eat here or to go” Mexican restaurant a few doors from my colleague’s office. As we approached “order here”, the mid-forties-ish man behind the counter looked up.
“Welcome,” he said, slightly acknowledging the two of us. “What would you like?”
With his characteristic big-smiled, booming voice, my colleague said, “I want a chicken quesadilla” …. adding three seconds later, “the best one you’ve ever made.”
The counter man looked up at him and smiled. “The best one?”
“The best one, ever,” my colleague smiled back.
The counter man laid a tortilla flat and, with fluid motion, ladled and spread chopped chicken.
“Beautiful,” exhorted my colleague. “That looks great.”
The counter man smiled, taking an extra moment to ensure that the chicken was even, no high spots.
He looked up. “Pico de Gallo?”
“Yes, please!” came the reply.
This, too, he spread gently, earning an energetic “That looks great, a thing of beauty.”
Sliding to his left, he grasped a massive mittfull of shredded cheese and gently sifted it across the chicken.
“Wonderful…. looks wonderful,” enthused my colleague. “This isn’t your first rodeo.”
The counter man smiled, carefully working the cheese across the chicken.
He then closed the quesadilla with another tortilla, then placed it in the press to heat it.
Turning to me, for a moment, he smiled and said, “I’ll be right with you,” then returned his attention to the press. At exactly the right moment, he opened the press and removed the quesadilla, now steaming a bit.
Still smiling, he cut it into even sections, slid them gently into a basket, and held up the basket for my colleague to inspect.
“Beautiful,” my colleague boomed expansively. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” replied the almost blushing-with-so-much-praise counterman as he turned to hear my request.
Noticing his pride in preparation and the outcome, I felt a mixture of bemusement and awe, wondering “How do I follow THAT act?” and then, “I wonder if I’m encouraging my team enough?”
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