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The Good Life: Extending grace, the lost art
June 27, 2013 Lisa Betz   

Read more by Lisa Betz
By now, most of you have probably had the opportunity to try out the new pizza joint in Scottsbluff, Sam & Louieís. I stopped by for lunch on my first visit and sat at the bar. Nobody seemed to recognize me as a customer at first, and I had to ask someone for a menu, but I didnít mind.

Itís a new place and theyíre working hard over there to get the kinks out, while managing an extremely high volume of customers eager to check out the new restaurant in town. Although Iíve been part of the Gering Citizen from the beginning, I still canít imagine the amount of work that goes into starting a new restaurant franchise.

Facebook is such an interesting medium to take the temperature of something new. The social media site has been buzzing with news of Sam & Louieís.

Like any new enterprise, it takes time to get your rhythm, work out the unexpected challenges faced during a ďrealĒ day of business versus the mock training experiences afforded to staff before the doors open.

Iím personally thrilled with Sam & Louieís. I am delighted by the variety in their menu, which offers new flavors and taste combinations we donít have anywhere else in the Valley. Iíve been there several times now and each time Iíve forced myself to try something new on the menu, despite my immediate love for the Barbecue Chicken Pizza.

As part of my job at the Citizen, I come into contact with lots of people. What I find interesting is how much people seem to enjoy sharing stories of less than perfect experiences any time there is something new in town. I wonder what the motivation is.

Being trained for your job by an experienced member of the team under tried and true circumstances is nothing compared to opening the doors to a horde of hungry customers eager to try something new. In a new restaurant, the entire team from management to kitchen to wait staff is untested, unfamiliar with the menu, the routine, the best practices and procedures.

I have not personally worked in a new restaurant; however, I have waited tables and served as a hostess in restaurants. Itís a tough job, very tough.

Dealing with the public is an interesting experience and can be quite tricky when things go wrong. The best thing to do in any business when youíve disappointed a customer is apologize and make it right, no matter what. If that disappointed customer is treated with dignity and respect, they might just become your most loyal supporter. When a customer walks away disappointed; however, the six degrees of complaining can spread like wildfire.

So I encourage everyone who is trying out Sam & Louieís to keep in mind the very big challenge of starting something new. Be generous with your praise and encouraging if mistakes happen. Keep going back and remember that when creating anything new, there will be occasional glitches. Itís understandable for a new business.

We extend a Gering Citizen welcome to Sam & Louieís. I have had nothing but excellent experiences thus far and I look forward to more. Recently, I tried the Thai Pizza, what an interesting idea!

One of the best things about Sam & Louieís is the fact that they are serving ice cream from The Creamery. Now that is completely cool.

Congratulations to the Sam & Louieís team. What a wonderful addition to the Valley!
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