07 Mar Reflections post – Valley Village
As a Business Owner you are able to make a ton of choices. You decide what you want your brand to stand for. You decide what you want to sell. You decide who you want to hire, and when it’s time to let someone go. You can even fire a customer or refuse service. Each one of those choices is significant. As I look back at our time as a Restaurant in Valley Village, I learned where I made good choices and where I could have improved. It’s good stuff! Recently, I have been reflecting on the impact people have made on my life, and my life’s goal of impacting others. It inspired me to share!
One day at mac-O-licious, I dealt with a terribly mean elderly man. Now to be clear, we have a sign on the door that says “We are a happy place” (in other words, miserable people – please pass us by).
Few of them read it.
This man was so mean, I could have read him the sign and said “Bye Felicia!” However, my first reaction was “Okay, let’s do this! Let’s show this man some kindness.” My stance towards this unhappy fellow was important for two reasons:
1. We may be the only people who are ever nice to him. We may be the last smile he sees here on earth.
2. It’s super easy to be nice to someone who is nice to you. But what about the mean person? To be nice takes way more strength and restraint. How much more profound and powerful is it to not let a mean person ruin your day? What if you actually can soften that person’s heart? Think about it.
So I piled on the smiles and the food for free! He didn’t like his meal of course. He barked for directions to the bathroom. I smiled and pointed towards the right wall.
He did his thing and left, not even responding to my “Thank you for coming!” and “Goodbye!”
We had an amazing ride in Valley Village. I met some people who I will never forget:
- I saw them every week, or on a regular basis.
- They told their friends about us, and brought a new guest with them often.
- They followed us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and always had something nice to say.
- They supported us on Yelp and other review sites.
Then, I met those who were polar opposites. Now I understand people have bad days. I understand people have their opinions. I understand people have their “preferences”. However, I never quite understand how some people can be so mean and vicious towards servers and establishments who are genuinely nice to them. But that’s life and that’s people.
My top employee, Alisha said to a reporter one day, “The main ingredient in mac-O-licious is LOVE. We truly care about our customers and the food.” It made me teary-eyed to know that is how she felt. It was for this exact reason that I left Corporate America. I left to be in a position to make a difference: to care about people (customers and employees) and to serve those who are less fortunate. It doesn’t quite pay the bills, but the feeling of depositing a smile in someones bank account is priceless!
I want to believe that mac-O-licious had an impact not just on the wonderfully nice and supportive customers out there. But hopefully those who were coming in for some real “comfort” received it. Comfort not only in the form of food, but in the faces of those on my team who were willing to listen, talk, sing, pray or just “leave you alone” to eat or nap on the bench. Even those who wanted us to be their “punching bag” during their visit (or when they hid behind their PC Screen).
We weren’t perfect. But we did the best that we could.
And we hope to do it again in a new location one day.
The nice thing about seasons is that they change. And God willing, the season comes back. I look forward to whatever the future brings.
To our customers in The Valley, it was a pleasure! Thank you for everything and please keep in touch.
For catering or events please visit us at www.macolicious.com