We decided to stop for a quick bite to eat on the way home from Madison, Wisconsin. There happened to be an Olive Garden along the highway, so we thought it would be a great stop.
Who would have thought just pulling into the parking lot that I would be blogging about this fantastic experience?
As we entered the lobby, an individual with the biggest smile you have ever seen greeted us with, “Hello, welcome to Olive Garden!” Her tone of voice was inviting, and she was ready to serve us. She asked how many and I said, “Two.”
As we walked to the table, she asked if we have ever been to an Olive Garden, and I said, “Yes, at home.” She asked where “home” was and I said, “St. Louis.”
“Oh,” she said, “I have driven through there! What a great city! Your server (she stated the name) will be with you very shortly.” Within ten seconds, our server approached us with a wonderful greeting, eye contact, and a very friendly aura about her. It almost made me want to pull out a chair and have her join us.
She said, “So you’re from St. Louis?”
WOW! An actual communication between two staff members!
She explained that she had driven through there many years ago. She took our order and then, of course, brought us some nice fresh bread.
We were also intrigued by her conversation with the table behind us. They were also traveling northbound. There was light discussion on traveling, and then the waitress brought out to-go cups and tightly packed food, commenting, “Now you are going to need this for the ride, so I have packed some extra plastic ware as well as extra ice in your cups. Be safe and on your way back through town, consider stopping by to see us again!”
Our food came, and it was perfect. She slid in with some extra Parmesan cheese and plenty of drink refills. I asked for a to-go box and believe it or not, it was not the same conversation she had with them.
Here is what she said – “So you have a bit of a drive back to St. Louis. Did you want to take home some dessert to have something to look forward to at the end of your long trip? Or how about some to-go drinks?”
Okay, she had me!
After she brought the bill, I explained to her that every single interaction we had within the last hour at Olive Garden was unbelievable. She smiled and said, “We want every experience to be fantastic.”
On the way out I stopped and asked the front desk staff member for the manager. When the manager came out, I shook his hand and told him what I do for a living. He smiled and said how happy he was that they had exceeded our expectations. I promised him that I would blog about him and here it is!
Olive Garden – YOU get it!