“Good afternoon and welcome. My name is Megan and I’ll be taking care of you today. Have you ever dined here before?”

Many of my conversations started that way during my several years in the hospitality industry. At that time I made a lot of friends, met really nice people, made great money, and ate a lot of delicious food. And while I do not consider that time period my heyday by any means, in looking back, I do believe I learned a lot from my hospitality career and continue to put those learnings to practice in other professions in my adult life.

  1. Responsiveness: Have you ever tried to order a drink from a bartender that will not acknowledge you? Second in line to food, customer experience plays a huge role in the success of restaurants. Having been on both sides of the coin, I can attest that a lack of responsiveness really puts a damper on the whole experience. As guests and paying customers, people like to know that you care enough about them to acknowledge them. Of course, sometimes life happens and being promptly responsive isn’t always an option. Solution? The best one I came up with is communication. Let them know. People usually appreciate your honesty and that you let them know before they had to wonder.
  2. Adaptability: I consider myself a functional introvert. I can keep a conversation going but small talk is quite a challenge for me. That said I never imagined I would flourish in hospitality. But I really did. Why? Because serving people isn’t about small talk. It’s about meeting people where they are. Where I worked, we called it “reading your guests.” When people want to talk to you, they will. And conversely, when they don’t want to strike up a conversation, they wont. That’s just human nature. As human business professionals, our job is just to pay attention to that and act accordingly, or in other words, adapt to our guests.
  3. Manners: Though manners seem like a minor detail, there really is some magic in having and using them. Basic phrases like “yes, please. Thank you. Yes ma’am, no sir..etc.” I always felt took my guest experience to a higher level. What I did not realize at the time, was that I was catering to a basic intrinsic need that (most) all people have: the desire to feel respected and appreciated. When people were with me, no matter the context of the conversation, I made the extra effort to fulfill that need. And that consistent behavior shaped my guest experience, my personal brand, my regulars, and ultimately my pocketbook!

Today, while I do not work formally in service and hospitality I am still in the business of serving others. Just in a different industry. Today, my job is to serve the people of Luck Companies and our stakeholders to Ignite Human Potential around the world. In looking back, I never thought the hospitality would ever help to carve that path but I am grateful for that experience because it most certainly did help. To this day, I still use responsiveness, adaptability, and manners in my role and daily life to help me make a positive impact.

And now here is my challenge to you: whatever it is that you’re serving up, make sure you do not take it for granted. So they say, you never know how the smallest things you’re doing today could impact your tomorrow.

Image Credit: © Depositphotos.com/sergeynivens


Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty’s methodical approach to business and her high-attention to detail are juxtaposed by her playful sense of humor and adaptability. A self-proclaimed “tom-boy,” Megan winds down on the weekends in a ball cap with her dog, Bear. Megan holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications with a concentration in Strategic Advertising and a minor in Spanish, from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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