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Meet Larry. (Pictured at right.)

When my daughter and I were in Southern California last week, we stopped at an In-N-Out Burger in Torrance. (My daughter thinks that In-N-Out reflects the best culinary traditions of the western world. I would not go that far, though I do love their cheeseburgers animal-style.) When we walked up to the front door, we were greeted by Larry. Big smile. He held the door for us.

“How are you doing today?” he said. Lots of enthusiasm. Booming voice.

I told him we were doing fine, and he told us to enjoy our lunch. We went inside, ordered, and then sat outside to munch on our burgers.

Larry was out there, walking from table to table, checking to make sure that everybody had what they needed, that they were enjoying their meals.

I engaged Larry in a bit of casual conversation, and he told me that he’d been working at In-N-Out for seven years and loved it. His job had allowed him to get his own place, and he thought the world of the company. And then, he moved on to the next table and the next one. Being Larry. Being In-N-Out’s roving ambassador.

I couldn’t help but think that Larry probably attracts a lot of people to the In-N-Out on Carson Street in Torrance. He had that kind of infectious personality - he just made everybody feel good about being there.

Ironically, I received an email from MNB user Brian Connellan the other day that was weighing in on the broader discussion of customer service, and it was about In-N-Out:

I was in Dallas this week and made a trip to the In-n-Out in Las Colinas.  The burger was as good as expected but the ambiance was not there.  (Can I even use the word ambiance when talking about a fast food joint?)  The employees there seemed to treat it like any other part time job, like a McDonald’s.  There’s something to be said for understanding a company’s heritage.  Maybe In-n-Out is best served sticking to it’s West Coast roots.

Could there be a better advertisement for just how important a guy like Larry is, even for a fast food joint?

Retail battles are won and lost on the front lines. If I owned a retail business, I’d want an army full of people like Larry.
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