|Customer service a Jaber family tradition|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by Greg Price|
|Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:20|
In the tight margins of the restaurant business, you have to find ways to distance yourself from the competition.
The old adage of ‘Service with a Smile’ has been something Mediterranean Grill has been following in Taber since April of 2010. A fact that has secured the business the Customer Service Excellence award which will be celebrated this Friday at the Taber and District Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner and Awards Night at the Heritage Inn.
“Service excellence is our golden rule here. We want to give customers a fresh and healthy taste and that has been something we have relied on ever since we started 11 years ago back in Calgary,” said Ross Jaber, owner of Taber’s Mediterranean Grill. “I’ve never changed that and with the fresh and healthy food comes the customer service.”
A cultural mainstay of the Jaber family growing up of making human connections, it has been passed on to his business ventures as well in not treating a customer just like another number in the cash register.
“I was raised in a very poor home and all that we knew was how to treat people nice and invite them to eat and that’s how we show our love is over a dinner or lunch table and my family loved to eat,” said Jaber. “That is why we chose this path. I want to give the same values my parents gave me.”
Walking inside the restaurant, if you are to see Jaber behind the counter, it is always with a bright smile and warm greeting in which he strives to get to know repeat customers in which he will likely know what you want to order before you speak.
“You have to put a lot of love in what you do. There is a lot of competition in the restaurant business where every week you’ll see a restaurant coming and going where you always have to be on your ‘A’ game,” said Jaber.
“You have to love what you do and treat people the way you want to be treated. We enjoy cooking and we enjoy serving. You have to share some personal interaction because a customer doesn’t just want to eat, they want an experience as well. In the last 10 years, if I see someone more than once, I’ll remember 80 per cent of the time what they get. I guess it’s something God gave me with a good memory.”
As Jaber has attended the cash register in the past, you can often see him give customers a slight break on the total so paper bills will not have to be broken, leaving customers awash in mounting jingling change. A $10.12 bill will be seen as $10 even. A small gracious gesture that can go a long way in impression with customer service.
“When I die it’s not like I’m taking my money with me so I might as well bite that 10 cents. You look at any franchise place in the world and if your bill was $100.01, you can bet they are going to want that penny,” said Jaber. “We don’t care about that part. We have love for the customer and I know if I was in their shoes and I was given that small break, it would be something I’d remember for a long time, it feels good.”
Always trying to adapt, Jaber adds Mediterranean Grill will take peoples opinions and try to fix what needs to be fixed in which Ross will attempt to make his dishes the way the customer wants with ingredients substitutions Jaber will personally get.
“Late this past year we started doing catering for things like big office meetings where you get everything with your salads, your meal, and desserts for a reasonable price,” said Jaber. “A good price for high-quality food.”
As Jaber ventures out to raise his young family in Taber with his wife Obi and nine-month-old son Amir, the restaurant business has never been a wanting-to-get-rich scheme, but rather just one to keep a roof over their heads while doing something they enjoy as business has remained steady.
“We love to be here and I’m raising my family here in Taber. I’m honoured to be here. The community has been very supportive and I try to give back where I can,” said Jaber of Mediterranean Grill which has served nourishment to needy families in years past free of charge.
“I’m honoured, delighted and overwhelmed winning this award. My family is thankful and we want to keep giving to Taber and make them our extended family. We are here to serve and service excellence is our golden rule.”