I really don’t care who you are. Or how your day was. Or whether you think you are being funny, or witty, or just better than me.
Because it is not about you as a person. It is not even about me as a person. It is about your business, and how you present to the world.
So refusing to tell someone standing at your bar what the manager’s name is, is just silly. That person might want to help you with something, or sell you something, or be the person who books your entire venue for several nights on the most expensive function package imaginable. You just don’t know.
They might have a complaint, which if handled well from the word go, could have been turned around.
They might have had something lovely to say, but been cut off before they could do so.
They might be a friend of the owner. Or a media type. Or someone with several thousand social media followers.
The point is, that you, my friend, just do not know. So, at all times, you put your best business foot forward. You walk the walk even if your gait is off. It is NOT about you. It is about your business. It is not about miniscule power plays to make you feel better.
Today, I had the owner of a venue mishear me on the phone, and not knowing who I was, only that I was calling for his sommelier, he affected a horrendous overworked Chinese accent (not an Asian gentleman, nor an Asian venue, not that it matters), and informed the person for whom I was looking was “not here, he long gone, he gone, lady no idea he gone”. I replied in shock that I would call back later, and his voice changed, and he worked out that the tone was perhaps inappropriate. He did not apologise, or explain. My accent is a bit of everything and nothing. I am often told that – particularly on the phone – my accent is very ‘international school’. Not that that matters one way or the other. I don’t know if he was trying to be funny.
But really: is this how you treat someone calling your business? Is this your best foot being put forward? In which case, is your best foot inappropriate (at best) or blatantly racist (at worst)? In the same venue I have struggled to get a drink with staff more concerned with bickering than serving, so I am happy to say that they are no longer on my contact list. They are not on a list of venues which gets passed around the countless interstate and overseas visitors to whom I provide advice.
I will not name them publicly. Nor even privately. Because that is my best foot being put forward. They have some lovely staff, and one owner’s idiocy is not worth the staff being tarred with the same brush.
But you never know. The person in front of you may have any number of other things going on in their world.
You. Never. Know.
They could help you. They could hinder you. The way you treat them in your business capacity – cellar door, pub, restaurant, shop, phone call, email, online enquiry – dictates their response. Play nice, people. Remember what people see is not what is going on in your head. And if it is their first it, it is the anchoring impression of you, your wines, and your venue.
Slapping on a silly accent? Might be a bit of fun to you. But much like social media, tone can be lost. Or misinterpreted. Or seen as horrendously racist.
In any case, is that what you want to put forward? Or could you be a little bit better?