WOW Word-Of-the-Week #322: Smile

November 10, 2010 by  

Smile – to express cheerful acceptance.

When was the last time someone smiled at you? Does it happen daily? Weekly?  How did it make you feel? How often do you smile?

Once again, Bill Marvin, the Restaurant Doctor, was spot on with this comment from his weekly Electronic House Call.  He wrote, “On my recent road trip through New York State, I was privileged to encounter some of the most wonderful smiles I have seen in years — servers (and managers) who lit up the dining room! It reminded me of how important it is to hire the smile, particularly in guest contact positions.”

“If you want a crew that smiles (and you definitely want a crew that smiles), you have to hire smiling people. The rest you can train … but I have never found a way to teach people how to smile.”

“The first step is to identify people who CAN smile. Here’s a trick I learned years ago from the late Mike Hurst. At the end of the first interview, ask (with a straight face), “I just have one more question. What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you?” The answer is less important than seeing that they can laugh at themselves … but if you don’t at least get a big smile, they aren’t someone you want to put in front of your guests.”

“The second step is to foster and maintain a positive work climate. Part of that is to treat your team the way you want them to treat your guests. The better they feel about themselves, the more they will smile. The more they smile, the better your guests will feel. The better your guests feel, the more they will patronize you … and the more that happens, the better YOU will feel!”

“Interviews can be a little stressful for the candidate, but if they can’t muster a warm smile under those conditions, they aren’t likely to light up your dining room when the rush is on. Will it take a little more work to hold to a standard like this? Of course it will. Do The Work!”

This is so true.  And smile is one of the words I use in my “Susan’s 7 Simple Steps of Service.” It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, I believe that people want to go places where they feel good and when that happens, they spend money!

This week focus on “the smile.” What kind of an example are you setting? Do you know that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile? What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you?