Sometimes it’s the little things that mean a lot.
My birthday was last week (enter my Happy Birthday giveawayhere!) and my family kindly took me to one of my very favorite restaurants for dinner.
I like Champps for several reasons: the food is always wonderful, the wait staff kind, they have great meals for kids, and the patio area is quiet and sunny.
My husband offered to take me wherever I wanted to go, though, and as I thought through my options, I decided to stick with Champps – and it didn’t hurt that they would give me a free entrée through their email club. It may have been my birthday, and I appreciate my generous husband, but there’s something fun about redeeming a good coupon – especially when it’s as tasty as Champps’ food.
When we arrived, I asked Carmen, our waitress, about the details of the ‘birthday special.’ She informed us that Champps would comp my dinner up to $18.99. If I chose something pricier, I could just pay the difference. I was pleasantly surprised that the dollar amount was that high, and so I had fun looking over some entrees I’ve never tried. I settled on the Walnut-crusted Chicken. It sounded yummy.
After ordering, I realized that the patio was not quite as warm as I had thought, and I tried to add a bowl of Southwestern Corn Chowder to my order. The menu said I could do that for a slight upcharge, and I love a good bowl of soup. Carmen said that my birthday coupon wouldn’t cover it even though I still fell just within that monetary boundary, but I asked for it anyway. It was definitely worth the small charge – it was fabulous!
Carmen had recommended the chicken dish that I chose, and it earned its reputation. I’ve never had anything like it, but I look forward to trying it again. You could easily share that dish, as well: with a mound of mashed potatoes topped with grilled veggies and onion straws surrounded by THREE walnut-crusted chicken breasts, two could share it happily.
Carmen was attentive as we ate. She even brought the dish of oranges that My Little Man expressed an interest in – and a second container of juice for each child.
Near the end of our meal she furtively asked if the kids wanted the sundaes that came complimentarily with their dinner. I appreciated her tactfulness but agreed that the kids would like to have them. To my surprise, she brought one for me, too – with hot fudge and walnuts and whipped cream and a cherry on top! The staff sang to me, as well. I must admit, I preferred the ice cream to the spotlight, but it was pretty nice to be treated.
When we were ready Carmen brought the check to my husband. To our surprise, not only was my dinner free, but Our Little Man’s oranges, the second juice, AND my soup! Carmen took care of all of it for us.
I really appreciate the effort that Carmen put into serving us. She could’ve let those charges ride, which would’ve guaranteed her of a certain tip, but instead she forsook the certainty of that to give us a special birthday dinner. I know my husband – he tipped her based on the total before the freebies, not after, but she couldn’t be know that. I think that’s pretty cool.
I felt very special, sitting at my favorite table in the sunshine, people watching and enjoying a fantastic dinner with my family. Knowing that it wasn’t costing us an arm and a leg was even better.
The best part, though, was knowing that our dinner would be tasty and our service pleasant. We’ve never experienced any trouble at Champps, and other wait staff members have been just as generous. To me, the service can make or break a dinner, and it’s extra special to go to a place that feels like home. Where people treat you as if they know you. Where you know you’ll be welcomed warmly.
That may seem like a little thing. After all, it was just dinner out. One meal. But Carmen’s kindness and generosity stood out and was the like the cherry on my sundae – a sweet ending to a wonderful meal.
Can’t wait to go again.
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