Free Espresso And Puppies

After finishing yet another satisfying meal at Yours Truly, our family’s favorite local breakfast spot, I started shepherding various Auth kids to the back of the restaurant in that timeworn, post meal hand/face washing ritual when I spotted it.

The sign, either printed out from the Internet or a third-generation photocopy, was taped innocently to the wall over the ever-popular train table. It read, “Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy.”

It took a minute for my coffee-addled brain to put all the pieces together and when it did, I started to laugh.

The sign was and is perfect – a very clever way to let parents know their kids are welcome to use the train table, but only under their supervision. The sign also underscored why our family enjoys this particular restaurant so much – their service is excellent.

Everything from the way the restaurant is designed (huge, floor to ceiling windows that somehow manage to keep the space filled with sunlight at all hours of the day), to the warm temperatures (they don’t skimp on the heating bills), to the friendly happy waitresses who remember you’re a repeat customer contribute to the general feeling of fun and frivolity. This combination of food, sunlight, warmth and happy, fun-loving people is almost magical. It’s kind of like, there’s no such thing as a bad day at Yours Truly.

It’s why, I suppose, I wasn’t surprised to see how they chose to solve their problem of unattended children. The sign, “free espresso and puppies,” basically sums up their entire philosophy – it‘s warm, sunny and funny. It also seemed to work, as I did not see any unattended children playing at the table, at least when I was there last.

My suspicion is whoever hung the sign did so without too much thought about what the right approach would be at their restaurant. They simply saw the sign, thought it was funny and hung it up. No fuss, no muss, which is the way all organizations endeavor to operate. Obviously, that’s not always the case, and when dealing with public stakeholders, it can be even more trying.

So, as you dip into this issue and read about all the ways winter gives way to spring, here’s hoping you can solve your daily challenges with an ounce of whimsy, leaving your patrons with the impression there’s no such thing as a bad day in their city.

Till next month…

Rodney J. Auth