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Le Jardin – A Lesson in the Scarcity Mentality

| April 16, 2013 | 0 Comments

Marcie worked as a hostess for a small but high-end restaurant owned by a husband and wife team. Because of the way they ran the register, Marcie was not only in charge of seating the customers, but of also processing every guest check, be it credit card, gift certificate, or cash.

The staff at Le Jardin was highly professional, most of the waiters career servers who had been in the industry their entire adult lives. They earned respectable incomes upwards of 60K, working most nights, every weekend and every big holiday. They all had their different styles of service, but there was one server who consistently out-earned them all . . .

On a typical night, we find Michael beginning his shift by checking each place setting. He polishes the stemware and knives; he makes sure all the settings are intact. Meanwhile his co-worker, Josh, also begins his night by looking through the reservation books. Josh notices that a table of ten is due to arrive at six o’clock. He immediately begins strategizing ways to insure that he will get to wait on them. He talks to Marcie about it, then to the bus boy and the bartender. He talks with the owners to find out who they are.

good wait servers“They’re celebrating a retirement,” Josh is told, and he turns that information over in his mind. Meanwhile, the first table arrives, a party of four, and Marcie seats them in Michael’s section. He is ready and greets them, his focus on taking them through a pleasant evening. Another table arrives, this one a party of two who is seated for Josh, and then another four-top arrives, as it were, for Michael. Now Josh is irritated, because Michael has two four-tops while he only has a deuce. This directly affects his income because more people order more food, which results in a larger bill and a bigger tip. As a new table comes in, a party of two for Josh, he approaches the hostess stand fuming.

“I’m not waiting on another deuce,” he tells Marcie. “You’re killing me!”

“But I thought you wanted the ten-top,” she replies. “I’m just trying to keep the number of covers even.”

Josh runs through a quick mathematical calculation. He looks again at the reservation book and tallies the number of guests still due to arrive. He considers that the ten is a retirement party, and pictures a bunch of gray heads huddled over coffee with split entrées. Meanwhile the tables in his section wait patiently. The bus boy brings them water but they haven’t ordered drinks. Michael goes by with a steaming platter of appetizers and the aroma fills the restaurant.

“Fine,” says Josh. “Let Michael have the ten-top. Just make sure that I get the six-top and the next two parties of four.”

“So you don’t want to take the deuce?” Marcie asks. A nicely dressed party of four has just arrived, and Josh replies that he will take them instead, and passes Michael the two-top. Within the next ten minutes, another party of four arrives as well as the six-top Marcie promised to Josh. She tries to talk to him but he is frantic now, trying to take care of too much at once.

“How about I let Michael have this other four so you can focus on your six?” But Josh says No, he can handle it. In his mind he is still working the numbers.

At six o’clock the party of ten arrives, and they are only going to be eight because one couple had to cancel. They are seated with Michael as agreed, and Josh takes note of their age and attire. He feels good about his decision, until he notices the kind of wine they order. Opus One! At four hundred dollars a bottle! Josh does some more mental math and starts fuming again. He complains to Marcie, to the bartender, to the owners. He forgets to check back with his table of six and so they have to flag down the bus boy who then tells Marcie who tells the bartender who tells Josh that they would like to order another bottle of wine. But by the time Josh gets back to them, it’s too late, and they’ve changed their mind.

“By the end of the night,” Marcie says, “Both serves had waited on exactly the same number of people, but Michael had somehow managed to earn nearly twice the amount of money. And that small party of two Josh passed off at the beginning of the night? They were really nice and left Michael a huge tip.” She smiles. “It’s like that almost every night. Josh is a great guy. He can talk to anybody about anything. But he’s always worried about who’s getting what instead of just taking care of what he already has.”

The Scarcity Mentality

The difference between Josh and Michael boils down to the way they view their assets. Josh felt he was entitled to the guests at his tables, whereas Michael viewed himself as their keeper. Michael wanted to make sure his guests had a pleasant evening, whereas Josh wanted to insure a positive outcome for himself. Going back to our goose with the golden egg, it’s the bird in the hand that counts. There is nothing more important than the person in front of you, and nothing else you should be doing but tending to them.

Here’s to your Rich Life!

Beau Henderson

This article is excerpted from Beau Henderson’s Best-Selling book The RichLife – Ten Investments For True Wealth. To receive the Lessons From Living Rich Tip of the Week scroll to the top of the page.

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Category: Living a Rich Life

Beau Henderson

About the Author ()

Beau Henderson is a financial advisor, author, coach, radio personality, and CEO of RichLife Advisors. He has helped over 3,000 clients to not just improve their relationship with money, but to live the life of their dreams. For more tips on how you can apply the principal of wise stewardship to your everyday life, check out Beau’s newest book, "The RichLife - 10 Investments for True Wealth" at http://www.richlifeadvisors.com/.

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