I am not sure what made me wake up today dreaming about the opportunity a coffee shop had with two opposing statistics.
We used to own two coffee shops, so I can guess why this setting was in my dream and I have run corporately owned restaurants in a previous life, so I knew when numbers did not match expectations
In my dream, the restaurant was continually growing in sales but there was an annoying Cost of Sales (COS) problem with whipped cream. The coffee shop was using four times the normal of whipped cream and someone was sent to figure out why.
Interestingly, they did not send someone to see why sales kept growing and the person checking on whipped cream was focused on the negative not on anything positive. Weekly meetings were always focused on the extra usage with just minimal recognition for increased sales.
The overage was found. It seems that the employees were enjoying their job and their customers. Without thinking, they were adding a dollop of whipped cream to anyone's order who wanted it, as a small thank you. Basically, lagniappe. They were giving something extra.
But the company's attitude was that it was not theirs to give. They were right of course but they did not look deep enough. The practice was corrected and whipped cream usage fell back into line. The employees became disgruntled, they could not give their customers lagniappe and slowly sales leveled off, eventually to slide backwards.
Now another person was sent in to diagnose what was happening. They found everything to be in order with the numbers and since they were not looking at the overall picture, nor were they there when sales were good, they did not notice the slip in employee attitude, customer service, cleanliness and overall friendliness.
I never got to then end of the dream, so I do not know if they ever saw the whole picture and put the ship back on course. Sorry for the "let down", but strangely, I awoke to another example of lagniappe from a social networking contact I know from LinkedIn. The fellow is from upstate New York and although I have tried while in the area, we have never met.
Yesterday I had an urgent call to locate some used military truck tires and wheels. I tried all the local contacts so eventually turned to the internet. I knew Eric's business was small engine motors, and related parts, so he would not be selling these rather specialized tires, but I thought he might know someone to contact.
This morning I find an email with the results of searching he had done on my behalf. Sellers, part numbers, with links for used and new. Wow! I just asked for a referral and he gave me much more. LAGNIAPPE and I was not buying ANYTHING from him.
Can you guess where I look for small engine parts and supplies if they are not readily available in Shelbyville? I don't check Murfreesboro or Nashville next. I check his site. I really want to give him business. (If you want his contact info, send me an email)
I try to give lagniappe every day, but do I try to do it with every contact I make during the day, customer or not?
Can I do better? Always.