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Jewish World Review
Oct. 25, 2013/ 21 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774
Enhance your life --- become a great customer
I've been in the restaurant business for 42 years. I know the importance of impressing
customers and taking care of legitimate complaints immediately. My cell phone number
is prominently displayed in the dining area and drive-thru of my six restaurants.
What I've found out over the years is that while it's important to value my customers,
it's equally imperative to be someone else's valued client. In fact, I dare say, I'm the
best customer of several establishments I regularly partake. At least I can get them
to admit that in public without badgering them. I take great pride in this.
Friendships-especially those in like-kind businesses.
Advice seeking from each other.
Sponsorships--in my case my five-year-old radio program is packed with
about 15 sponsors who I trade with.
Fun--I have a blast in their establishments with them and their employees.
We help each other out in good or bad times.
Here are a few of the establishments I'm talking about:
The Renaissance Airport Hotel in St. Louis. I had to pass by this property on
my way to work at my first restaurant as a 22-year-old. It had a golf range attached
to a carnival. I would often hit a bucket of balls after work. Soon after I moved
about 100 miles away, I began staying at the hotel, making friends with salespeople,
bell captains, shuttle drivers and concierges. When I married in 2005, four of these
friends attended as guests. Every time I go there I'm treated as family. I just went to
their 25-year employee reunion where I reconnected with many of my old friends
there, especially 90-year-old George, Morris, Larry and the now head of group
sales for the downtown St. Louis Renaissance, Becky. I was the only customer invited.
Matt's Steak House moved to their present locale on the outer road of I-44
in Rolla. The owner, Matt, worked for me as a 16-year-old in one of my restaurants.
He sponsors my radio show and his restaurant is the official location of the Dave
Weinbaum Show Prep Meal, where I shall be headed after I submit this column.
Matt and his wife Cindy have six kids and serve the best aged steaks IN THE
WORLD. One of my companies paved their lot. I bring all out of town guests to
Matt's and have yet to have even one not tout their outstanding food and service.
Lukas Liquors in Ellisville MO. I believe red wine and an occasional vodka
martini are good for one's health. While I can't remember what drew me in to this
super store, I was shocked at its size and world-wide selections. They also provide
you with a trained wine expert to accompany you and help pick out great wines at
values that weren't available for about 300 square miles. If the owner, Gary is in,
he takes me wine shopping personally. He has become a friend and one of the
few sponsors of my show from the St. Louis Metro area.
The Jewish World Review, something I had only readuntil I found one of
my quotes at the top of one issue. Buoyed by my unexpected success, I sent a
column in at 3:00 one February morning. I tested my ability to get my op-eds
published in something more than my website and the local papers. Binyamin
Jolkovsky, the Publisher, Editor and Owner shocked me when he responded
within minutes that he didn't need any more writers who would just report the
news dryly. He thought I had wit enough to be, if not over the edge, dangling on
its razor-sharp precipice. So I included the nasty jokes I had redacted from my
previous submission and my published history took a huge jump when the Boss,
(Binyamin) published my first JWR column on February 7th, 2005. We've been
friends since. I've visited him in Brooklyn where he spent the day with me and
my wife on a tour through Flatbush and the Borough.
Never shake a hand when you can hug a friend
Only space prevents me from talking about the other great friends who I met
as a customer. They have endured my persona through the years and have saved
me in bad times, comforted me through depression and enjoyed our mutually
cutting wits along with a few successes.
I look forward to many more years of expanding relationships with these
friends, spending time and money in their establishments and helping them as
much or more as they have already come to my aid.
These are the folks who, when I call for help at 3:00 AM, don't hang up
at least not until they hear who it is.
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JWR contributor Dave Weinbaum hosts DaveWeinbaum.com. He is a businessman, writer and part-time stand-up comic and resides in a Midwest red state. Comment by clicking here.
© 2011, Dave Weinbaum