You may find it hard to believe, but my business is based on me. 🙂 I don’t advertise and am not listed anywhere. That means it’s all up to my cooking and my (sometimes)
not so stellar personality in order to get and retain business. Crazy, huh? No clue why people like me, but I think it leads back to that whole acting background from high school. 😉 They think I’m nice. Or actually care about them. 😉 Or they’re just big drinkers. Anyway, as we all know that in my personal life I allow very few people ‘in’. In business however, everyone is a ‘friend’. Regardless of my mood or stress level or anything else I smile and do my job. That’s what I’m paid for. To make people happy. 🙂
I’m not sure when it started but I have built several relationships with local businesses and they, in turn, refer business to me. One such ‘business’ happens to be a funeral home. I know, on the surface, sort of creepy, but I swear these people are the nicest people ever! I keep my business small. I can’t compete with the large caterers in town, nor do I want to. This particular funeral home offers their clients suggestions on everything from flowers, to limo companies to what do you know? Caterers! Although I am one of many that they have listed, they usually try to push for me. How friggin’ awesome is that? The fact that I bring them brownies on occasion probably doesn’t hurt. 😉
Anyway, as referrals from them are sporadic (as you could imagine) I never know when I’m going to get a call from someone who’s lost a loved one and it’s inevitably for a last minute type thing. Duh, you can’t really plan ahead for these things now can you? Although I generally bend over backwards to be able to accommodate my clients; I will absolutely switch around what I need to, hire in extra servers, whatever in order to be able to cater these memorials. And I am always sure to be there personally to make sure all goes well. It’s the least I can do for crying out loud. I always feel so bad when I get a call. After my initial bout of silence, I offer my condolences, chat with them for a bit and try to ease their worries. Funny, I don’t think any of my friends would describe me as nurturing, but I seem to have a knack for gaining (and valuing) people’s trust. I don’t take that lightly. Anywhoo, I got a call yesterday from a lady that just lost her son. 😦 I can only assume it wasn’t due to natural causes. It’s not my job to ask questions beyond menu and service details, so I just listen and do my best to make them feel okay for the moment.
The woman called with the intention of hiring me, sight unseen, no ‘shopping’ around, no 20 questions. We selected a menu, she gave me her address for set up, she will leave her front door unlocked for me to gain access and be able to set up. All with never having met me. Although I am probably one of the most trustworthy people ever, how would strangers know this? Sure, I’m in business, but I can only assume that there are less than honest business people out there. Ones that wouldn’t hesitate to flake on a job such as this. A job, and home, that she is entrusting to a veritable stranger.
Anyway, she was very sweet, thanked me at the end of the conversation and told me that she looks forward to meeting me. This always astounds me. I’m just doing my job. You want to know the best part about being trusted to handle such an important, yet somber occasion? I almost always get a hug from my client at the end. That beats a tip any day of the week. 🙂