Can I get fries with that great attitude?

Steve Gamlin enjoys meat with his potatoes. Eating them at his local Five Guys Burgers & Fries led to a chance discovery that not all french fries are created equal.

This spud connoisseur and customer service expert from Goffstown, N.H., ranks this popular eatery that combines fast food convenience with restaurant quality burgers as a top potato purveyor.

Many establishments are known for their premium food service, so why this one? And why here? The manager clearly takes quality fries as seriously as personalized and polite customer service. You’ll see.

But Gamlin’s experience also revealed that fries taste that much better when served with positive attitude, and focused the spotlight just a little bit back on the consumer.

Gamlin has a knack for attracting and telling a good news story, whether about Staples or a mom-and-pop laundromat. And he makes me want to listen.

Public opinion on over-the-top customer service can be varied depending on sources. (I didn’t get the memo about Chick-fil-A?)

Being of the beef persuasion, I love Five Guys for high-quality, fast, any-way-you-want burgers at a reasonable price. They include Burgers & Fries in their name for a reason featuring two types of fries. Gamlin is not alone regarding a Five Guys fries following, which includes ChowHound and SeriousEats.

When he and his companion found themselves stuck in midday Manchester, N.H., traffic, Gamlin heard all he needed to hear: an invitation to a Five Guys lunch. “Delicious burgers, awesome fries and my favorite orange soda,” he thought.

The pleasant consumer moment was not over after the consuming, as Gamlin’s good nature was again looking for an outlet. He observed an employee quietly working hard to straighten rows of chairs and tables cleaning up crumbs along the way to assure a perfect meal experience — all without any fanfare.

Related story:   Southwest goes the extra mile to return a library book

Gamlin wanted to create some. “How does it feel to be serving the best french fries around?” he asked.

She smiled and thanked him, and many might have stopped there. Then she added, “If they’re ever cold, and not perfectly hot and fresh, please come and tell us! I try to stress to my team to do their best, always.”

She shook Gamlin’s hand, saying, “My name is Denise. I am the manager.”

An author and speaker, Gamlin says he gets to be positive for a living. And so can a lot of other people in the service industry. But sometimes they forget. This manager didn’t.

While no one else providing us a service or product should forget either, the global message is that we can all do our part as consumers to encourage a positive interaction, by realizing it goes both ways.

What do I mean?

Have you met people like Denise in your busy day, who take pride in their work no matter what it is? Do you say something positive? Or are we in a default what-can-I-complain-about-today mood seemingly so prevalent in our privileged society? And if you think they are just doing what you are paying for, how do you feel when you go back to your work after your burger (oops, I mean fries) to hear a compliment? What happened to — gasp — manners?

And at the end of the day, how do people talk about you when they go home?

When we have more burgers (and other products) to choose from than ever, fries are really not the issue. Attitude is.

Related story:   The incredible but true story of Alaska Airlines' change fee reversal

Both theirs and yours.

Andrew Der

Der is an environmental consultant and travel journalist specializing in water science, nature, eco-travel, and cultural destinations

%d bloggers like this:
Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.