Irony or ironies, although I don't think the statement was intended literally, it was quite clear that the staff believed it in the way it behaved.
A half dozen of us stood outside waiting in one of the coldest New York mornings this past week, while at the staff could see us standing there. They finally opened the doors at 8am, on the dot.
Once inside, the staff's attitude was perfectly aligned — they kept going about their fodd business without paying too much attention to us, the customers.
You cannot sit there, one waitress told me, here's a small table for you and your friend. We're going to be busy, she said. Two people sat in that booth a moment later, buying only coffee, and nobody bothered them.
The food was great, and you do pay more for it than in another place. The service continued to be "meh". So I do wonder if it's expected that people leave smaller or no tips? There's a happy medium between scrolling down carpets and not showing even a little interest.
This observation led me to think that not everyone must realize we're in a service economy. Yes, even when you make tangible stuff. And performance is service, too.
Performance as service
When we discussed designing the customer experience as a differentiating factor, we didn't get into the conversation around performance as service specifically. Yet, it is a big part of the equation.
I also believe that the untapped capacity to create significance (and all the stuff that follows on from it — higher purpose, a sense of meaning, animating passion, intrinsic motivation) has never been more important, as Haque puts it.
Doing the opposite can be a good thing, if it has a purpose. Looking at worst practices instead of benchmarking against the best stuff, for example, could yield amazing insights. And so usually does having a plan.
If there was a bigger plan at the cafe', it was not obvious to me. After more than one hour there, several tables were still empty, despite the assurances from the waitress that they would get really busy. Not being a regular, I could not tell you if it was an indication of an unusually slow day. I can tell you it set a different kind of expectation for me though — the food was the (only?) reason to go there.
What would performance as service look like in your organization?