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Thanksgiving at Patsy’s – The Best Customer Service Story Ever!

January 11, 2015

Have you ever heard a story that just knocked you over?  I did this weekend at a dinner with new friends at Vincenzo’s, a fabulous Italian restaurant in Louisville, KY.  The dinner was hosted by Louisville business man, who also happens to be a huge fan of Frank Sinatra. In fact, Frank Sinatra inspired the menu, the music, the whole evening. And, of course, we heard memorable and entertaining stories about the crooner all night long. This is the one that knocked me over –

Frank Sinatra loved Italian food.  His most favorite Italian restaurant in New York City was Patsy, a family owned establishment that has been thriving since the 1940’s when Frank first started to frequent it.

It turns out that even the great ones have occasional lapses in their careers. This was the case with Frank way back when. It was a time when he hadn’t yet reached the music and movie stardom that he is known for today.  In addition, his marriage had just failed. One day in early November, he found himself eating dinner alone at Patsy’s in New York. As usual, the restaurant’s owner and chef, Pasquale “Patsy” Scognamillo came out to say hello. They got to talking and Frank mentioned that he was all alone for Thanksgiving and he had decided to spend it at his most favorite restaurant, Patsy’s. He said looked forward to seeing the chef again then.

There was only one problem. Patsy’s was not open on Thanksgiving. Chef Patsy immediately called his people together and explained the situation. Their solution was brilliant! They decided that they would be open on Thanksgiving and they would make a wonderful dinner for Frank. And to keep him from realizing his mistake, all of the employees’ families would also have their Thanksgiving dinner at Patsy’s so the restaurant would look full. Frank didn’t find out about it until years later. And he never forgot it.

The story touched me on so many levels – customer service, creative problem-solving and above all else, employee engagement! How many of us would have come up with a solution like that and work with people who would do what Patsy’s people did to avoid disappointing a customer?

Key Words:  Customer Service, Employee Engagement, Creative Solutions, Veterinary Practice Teams, Teams, Teamwork

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