Feedback and Apprciation

The True Value of Feedback and Appreciation

Applauding a meal in public is fun to do because it’s so… unexpected. Have fun with it!

“Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free–and worth a fortune.” Sam Walton

My day was made because of barbecue brisket. Recently I was in Kansas City conducting a training program. I had worked with this client on several occasions and was familiar with their procedures. One of the consistent details of the program is that on day one, we have barbeque beef brisket for lunch. From the first time I had experienced this wonderful delicacy, I was hooked. It’s truly the BEST brisket I have ever had. (Of course, having any type of beef in Kansas City is usually a pleasure).

The Value of Appreciation

Lunchtime on day one arrived. When the waiter placed my plate in front of me, I applauded – literally. He was taken aback and then smiled broadly as I gushed about the expected awesomeness of this meal. Not only did the waiter tell the chef about my enthusiastic reaction, every time he saw me in the hotel for the next couple days he smiled and said “Hello.” It was a little thing, but the simple act of applauding a meal brought a smile to the faces of several people.

The True Measure of Feedback

In the food service industry, there are many times when the only time a server or chef gets feedback on the service they deliver, or the dishes they prepare is when something is not good, when it’s cold, when it’s not prepared to order, etc. Most of the time when we go out to eat, however, the food is excellent, the service is above average or at least good, and we had a pleasant experience. How often do we stop and express our “compliments to the chef?” Unfortunately, it’s not often enough.

I don’t need to tell you this, but servers work hard. They wait on several tables at a time, dealing with a wide range of customer attitudes. There are many circumstances out of their control, and they have to handle it in a way that they create a pleasant experience for their customers.

It’s The Little Things That Add Flavour 

What we may not think about as much are the creators of the meals – the cooks. Chefs work in a hot kitchen preparing food, plating the food in an attractive manner, and coordinating it all so the food comes out at the same time for each group of guests. When you think about it, it’s a pretty thankless job – and in most cases, chefs are not receiving tips for their efforts.

In either case – server or chef – I have to admit – I would not want to take their place. To me, going out to dinner is a treat that I enjoy immensely. (Throw in a trip to the theatre on top of dinner, and I am one happy camper!)

So, what can you do to spread a bit of joy next time you go out?

When you experience a fabulous meal, make it a point to “gush” about it. Call over the chef and express to him or her how much you are enjoying their well-prepared feast. Fill out the comment cards with your server’s name and let their management know specifically what they did well. Send a letter to the restaurant manager or corporate office, letting them know about the extraordinary efforts of one (or more) of their staff.

Little things mean a lot – a there’s no substitute for making someone’s day brighter.


  • Lisa Ryan

    Lisa Ryan is the Chief Appreciation Strategist with Grategy, a company founded on the principles of leveraging the power of gratitude in business and in life. Utilizing 20+ years of sales, marketing, and training experience, As an employee engagement keynote speaker, Lisa helps companies keep their best customers and top talent from becoming someone else's. She does this by training individuals, teams and organizations the importance of appreciation in creating stronger relationships, and becoming healthier, happier and having a lot more fun in life. Lisa is the author of six books, including: "The Upside of Down Times: Discovering the Power of Gratitude," "Express Gratitude, Experience Good: A Daily Gratitude Journal," "From Afraid to Speak to Paid to Speak: How Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety Boosts Your Confidence and Career," and "With Excellence." She is featured in two movies: the award-winning "The Keeper of the Keys" with Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul), John Gray (Men are From Mars/Women are From Venus), and Marci Shimoff (Happy for No Reason and "The Gratitude Experiment" with Bob Proctor, Dr. John DeMartini and Mary Morrissey. Ryan Lisa