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Monday, June 1, 2020

Business on the Road: The Taste of Texas and the Return Home

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John A. Wojtecki
John A. Wojtecki
Doctor John A. Wojtecki has 45 years of experience in Human Resources, Safety, and Training serving the toy, food, plastics, steel, and office furniture industries. John operates his own consulting business and is a Certified Facilitator in Real Colors. He is a volunteer with the Quad Cities Mediation Service. He posts monthly on his LinkedIn account.

Last I left you, I was headed out of security at O’Hare Airport at 9:00 pm for a hotel room compliments of United Airlines. I would need to “sleep fast” (thank you Bob Allbee for the insight). I was booked on a 7:00 am flight, same gate, the following morning.

As I headed to my hotel room, my thoughts drifted back to customer service at the Taste of Texas in Houston. Here was an opportunity to celebrate the visit and to observe their approach to running a business.

Taste of Texas offers an interesting experience for the consumer. Please note that I found out that this is a pricey experience. This is not a restaurant that has a dress code. The restaurant opens mid-afternoon. If one goes at the traditional dinner hour, there is usually an hour wait for seating.

We walked in shortly after 3:30 pm. There was a sizable crowd already seated. After being seated, we were instructed to head to the salad bar. An interesting feature of the salad bar was the cinnamon butter for our rolls. Bread was served not as a slice, but as a warm ball about the size of a golf ball.

After completing the salad, the server took our order. She then offered us the opportunity to select our own meal from a refrigerated case, holding an inventory of meats, chickens, and seafood. When I first moved to Muscatine, there was a similar format in a restaurant in Blue Grass. That restaurant allowed the patron to cook their own selection. At Taste of Texas, we could watch the chef prepare our selected item.

One could cut their meal with a fork, no knife needed. If one of us left the table, there was a fresh glass, a fresh cloth napkin, and the seat was cleaned. The meal was tasty.

The walls were full of history with items that looked like they should be in a museum. I did take a few minutes before we left to read and absorb the glass-encased memorabilia that was featured. I enjoyed being the tourist.

Back in Chicago, I woke up at 4:00 am and headed to the airport to get through security. Lines were much shorter at that hour. Gee, I wonder why? I stop for a healthy meal, water, a banana, and yogurt. There were passengers milling around the gate.

Twenty minutes before scheduled departure, the pilot emerged from the jet-way and talked to the gate agent. The gate agent announced there were no flight attendants here for the flight. 7:00 am passed with no attendants. United posted a 7:10 am departure. I thought to myself, “that won’t happen.”

About 7:15 am the flight attendants arrived. We pushed back at 7:30 am, 30 minutes late. It was a smooth flight to Moline, and I arrived home with many fond memories of a visit with my son.

In a future article, Business on the Road will continue with thoughts on the Houston Public Library.

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