Last week, I observed that the practice of stationing bathroom attendants in small restaurant bathrooms was not actually a service that many restaurant diners liked.
I used my recent experience at the New York restaurant Balthazar as an example.
Well, it turned out that the management at Balthazar had actually already been thinking along the same lines. The restaurant’s boss, Keith McNally, told the journalist Foster Kamer that he “completely agree[d]” with my assessment (which, by the way, was an assessment that most of the Balthazar patrons I had talked to also agreed with). And McNally also told Mr. Kamer that he would be phasing out the Balthazar bathroom attendant service over time.
This was happy news for Balthazar diners, but unfortunately Mr. McNally’s quote also included some ambiguous language that made it sound like, while phasing out the attendant service, he might also fire the excellent employees he had hired to stand in the bathrooms instead of reassigning them.
Yesterday, this interpretation of Mr. McNally’s quote triggered a small media storm in which the New York community, including me, appealed to McNally to continue to employ the bathroom attendants in some other capacity instead of just dumping them on the street.
Well, happily, that is exactly what Mr. McNally is going to do.
In a follow-up comment to Mr. Kamer, Mr. McNally clarified that he is not going to can the excellent employees who have served as bathroom attendants at Balthazar. Rather, he is going to reassign them:
“[A]ny and all Balthazar bathroom attendants I relieve of their jobs will immediately be given another job in my company,” Mr. McNally said “They are lovely people and I’d like to work with them forever.”
Well, that’s the kind of sentiment and action that will endear any community and team to a company boss — and make the company’s customers feel great about spending money there.
So Mr. McNally and Balthazar have done exactly the right thing here.
Hats off to both of them!
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