What’s a Little? (Issue 949)

In which we are reminded... there’s just certain stuff we need to know without winging it.  

A few months ago, before the restaurant Covid-19 closures, I met an out-of-town friend for dinner. He wanted a good burger, so we went to a restaurant on Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay.

The restaurant is in a renovated 1877 brick townhouse described as “modern, elegant, and comfortable while paying homage to the classic style & timeless beauty of the building & surrounding neighborhood.” The restaurant menu “blends new American cooking with contemporary continental cuisine & embraces quintessential New England ingredients. There is an atmosphere of hip sophistication with an unparalleled food experience full of fresh ideas & historic perspective.” Do we have the picture, here? They are positioning “up” – cool, hip, together.

So, we sat down for dinner. After I’d ordered one of their gourmet burgers topped with stuff that I would normally not put on a burger, our server said, “We serve French fries with the burger.”

“No, thank you, on the fries,” I responded.

“Would you like something else, then? A side garden salad, a side Caesar, broccoli…?”

“Broccoli, please.”

“Good!”, he confirmed, looking away, writing on his pad. He turned back to me…almost apologetic, “There’s a little upcharge for the broccoli.”

“What’s ‘a little’?”, I asked.

He said, “I’m not really sure… You know…. a little.”

I looked at my friend who was, by now, looking down and rearranging salt and pepper shakers on the table.

I turned back to our server and waited…..

He blinked. “I’ll go ask somebody.”

“Great,” I replied, and off he went.

“Well,” I said looking back to my friend who had rearranged the table, “that was awkward!”

He looked up. “There are certain things you should really know, when you’re selling,” he offered, shaking his head, “so your confidence comes across, so you represent your place well. That guy was either new or he wasn’t trained well enough. He didn’t know, he was winging it, and now we don’t know what to expect.”

Nick Miller  trains banks and bankers to attract and expand relationships with business clients by providing value beyond their products. More profitable relationships, faster. He is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site

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