Next Time, the Coffee is on Me

Sometimes a waitress says just the write thing. It happened to me this week.

An invitation from Sundance

The Sundance Institute hosts artists workshops around the country and invited me to give a talk this past weekend in Miami. I had done a talk on how filmmakers can make the most of their websites in September for a Sundance Institute event here in New York and was happy and flattered to get the call again. Since the event was on a Saturday and since it was in Miami and since it's starting to get cold here in New York, Emma joined me so we could make a weekend of it.

Miami: Kind of Awesome

The event and the weekend were great. Joe, Missy and the rest of the Sundance crew assembled a great group of filmmakers and presenters and I think my session was well-received.

Emma and I got to spend time in Wynwood (for lack of a better term: the Williamsburg of Miami) and the Design District (the 5th Avenue of Miami), found some time to sit on the beach at Bill Baggs State Park, and we ate several really great meals (two of which involved fried chicken and waffles).

An Elegant Turn of Phrase

The point of this post is not merely to recount a great weekend away but to call out Yardbird, a restaurant that served outstanding food and provided a customer experience to match.

The customer experience became notable a minute after we sat down when one of the waiters came by our table and said "Did you speak at the Sundance event yesterday?" It turned out the waiter, Torrance, was a filmmaker, had attended the event and had had a great and inspiring time. We had a very nice three-minute chat.

We were actually served by another woman, Sarah, who was also extremely nice and when she delivered the check at the end of the meal came she said "Next time, the coffee is on me". It took us a second to get what she meant but it came together when we saw that the coffee had been left off the bill: Coffee was Torrance's treat.

Threading the Needle

Sarah's turn of phrase was pretty magical and threaded a very small needle as it had to communicate two delicate messages:

  1. The coffee was not left off the bill by accident, lest we call her back and ask her to add it on or not call her back and feel guilty about getting away with something.
  2. Torrance was the one responsible for this act of kindness, lest we think that Sarah had done us this solid.

"Next time, the coffee is on me" was the perfect way to communicate these messages without coming out and saying it. I don't know if this is a stock phrase or she came up with it on her own but it absolutely hit the spot.

Thanks Torrance, Sarah, and Yardbird

So, this is a note to Torrance, the filmmaker, Sarah, the waitress, Yardbird, the delicious restarant: Thank you for a memorable meal.