Give them the ______Hot Sauce

Give them the ______Hot Sauce

We’ve all heard the term “sweet tooth.” This sweet tooth thing would show up for my beloved, late Grandma Opal within about ten minutes of completing her lunch or supper meals. I mean every single time! She didn’t need much to satisfy this sweet tooth, but she had to have a piece of chocolate, a Hershey kiss, or something similar that was certainly overloaded with sugar. Grandma didn’t really pass this onto me, instead I got a “spicy tooth” I guess you could say.

I’m not sure if my spicy tooth came from watching my Dad and his buddies have jalapeno eating contests when I was little or not. (They would have these contests to the point of having to get somebody’s stomach pumped out!). Or perhaps it came from all that time I was stationed in El Paso, TX during my military service days, where authentic and spicy Mexican food was the cuisine of choice.

Regardless of where my spicy tooth came from, it’s alive and well and those who know me give me a hard time about it every time we eat together. It’s a pretty simple thing, I like a bit of zing to my food, so regardless of what I’m eating I generally add some form of spice to it.

Last week before our Service Sales Success School in Chicago, Christy and I found a little sushi restaurant to grab a late lunch before John arrived from the airport. It was a cute little place. Not very many tables, it appeared to be family run, and had really cool décor on the walls and tables. The menu provided many choices and options (just as our customers like), so we ordered a few rolls and prayed the fish was fresh. Isn’t praying for fresh fish always the ritual after ordering sushi at a new restaurant? Ha!

Upon the arrival of our first roll, I added my standard request: a side of Sriracha (pronounced SEE-rah-chah), a hot sauce named for the seaside city of Si Racha, Thailand, where it was first produced. Immediately the language barrier kicked in and our server didn’t understand exactly what I wanted so she brought me a side of a spicy mayo sauce. I’m thinking that’s okay, I’m easy to get along with; I’ll deal with what she brought.

We continued our meal, enjoyed our food, and ultimately she presented us with the check. On the check she had a line item for “Side of Sauce $0.50”. I mumble something in disbelief to Christy which I won’t share exactly what I said, but I’m sure you can get the point of my mumble. I’ve been ordering sides of hot sauce for many years, and I’ve only EVER been up charged once before at a sushi restaurant in Orlando. However, at that restaurant they at least told me upon ordering that there is an additional charge for hot sauce.

We spent $50-$60 on lunch and I have an unexplained line item charge of $0.50? You must be joking, right? We had a great experience throughout the entire meal, up until this point. Can I afford the fifty cents? I certainly hope so, but that’s not the point! The point is that I left a little bit dissatisfied after a great experience up to this point.

Think about our own companies. How often does something as insignificant as the hot sauce get in our way from an ultimate client experience? We need to look at situations like this and apply to our operations and policies. What do we have in place and how do we communicate with our customer in ways that are no longer relevant? Where does this show up for you and your team? Whatever you identify that represents the hot sauce to you, please do me one favor…

Give them the hot sauce!



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