How to Up Your Self-Service System - Armadillo Style

I've decided that every Monday I'm going to write about a service experience I had over the weekend. My days are pretty routine and most of the time I eat at home with my family, so the only consistent experience I have of being served during the weekday is on the train. I really like to eat out though, so we go to at least one restaurant a week.

For lunch, we headed to an Armadillo Willy's near the cross-section of Stevens Creek Blvd. and De Anza Blvd in Cupertino, CA.

For those who have never been, Armadillo Willy's is a BBQ restaurant chain and their version of service is self-service. You order your food, pay, seat yourself and wait for your buzzer to go off before going to the counter to pick up your meal. It's a model that works for many places because it cuts down on the need to hire and train waiting staff. Basically, customers are trained not to expect any service other than our brief interaction with the cashier.

Efficient self-service systems are good, but when they're coupled with the occasional service outreach, they're even better. This place surprised me though and all it took was one of the staff doing a brief walk through of the dining area, asking everyone if they needed anything. Whoever decided to do this deserves credit because it shows a level of engagement that communicates customer care.

For those of us in the digital space, when's the last time you reached out to your customers with the intent to serve them without being prompted? To be sure, there are wrong ways to do this, but with the right amount of effort and brevity, it could be a real opportunity for delightful interactions.