Monday, February 08, 2016 Gabby Bill 0 Comments

This love note comes just in time for Valentine's Day and also gives me the perfect opportunity to write a post that pertains to the "& City" part of this blog's name, which I've thus far neglected.

As you may or may not know (if you know me in real life you probably do), I've just wrapped up Day 18 of the Whole 30.

What is the Whole 30 you might ask? It's basically a digestive reset where you don't eat any legumes, dairy, grains, sugar or alcohol for 30 days. It sounds painful, but it's mostly not that bad (although I will admit that I just got done watching a movie where they drank hot chocolate and ate chocolate chip pancakes, and I spent more time than is normal thinking about how much I wanted both).

What is difficult is eating out, because there are all these crazy restrictions, like no vanilla extract and no seed oils or soy (a legume), and sugar basically hides in everything, so you have to ask lots of questions and be that annoying person no one wants to be. That or order lettuce (which I've done) with plain olive oil (yup) and black coffee (gross).

So this evening my amazing friend Bekah invited me to said movie screening referenced earlier (oh yeah, she's doing Whole 30, too), and we planned specifically to eat at this create-your-own-salad place called Honeygrow, because we could hand-pick our ingredients to stay compliant.

Only, when we got to Honeygrow, it was inexplicably closed for temporary refurbishments. Shit. When you're on this plan, you can't exactly just pop over to the pizza shop next door or grab Chinese takeout.

Thankfully, my other amazing friend Jillian is a Whole 30 / paleo / Cross-fit pro and she just so happened to write this blog post about Whole 30 friendly Philly restaurants. I Googled and saw that P.S. & Co, a vegan, gluten-free joint just a few blocks away, was on the list. So away we went.

When we showed up at P.S. & Co, unfortunately there weren't as many options as we had hoped. Things had quinoa or chickpea croutons or vanilla extract or rice. Obvious staples for vegans who are GF, but non-compliant for us.

The owner -- Andrea -- could have very easily just waved us on our way and said good luck. But instead, she stepped out from behind the counter and meticulously reviewed the ingredients of every single item with me, checking to see what might work for our crazy diets. We finally located an eggplant burger that didn't break the rules (minus the GF bun it comes on), and then an idea struck me. I could throw that burger on top of their kale Caesar salad, minus the chickpea croutons and dressing (all that was left was kale, cabbage and mushrooms) and voila! A meal!

But then Andrea went above and beyond. She took the salads to the back, chopped up the burgers and mixed them in, then tossed the salads in oil and vinegar for us, even adding a squeeze of lemon and a little bit of salt and pepper for flavor!

When Bekah and I sat down in the theatre to chow down, we were literally moaning and groaning with how delicious everything tasted, and we both admitted that the meal was one of the best we'd had in days. It was hearty. It was sweet. It was savory. It hit the spot and left us happy girls.

I want to say a big THANK YOU to Andrea and to P.S. & Co for your help in taking our challenging eating evening and turning it into something scrumptious that we both really enjoyed. The kind of customer service that we received, where we made a real human connection and saw someone bending over backwards to help suit our unique needs, really is rare and deserves applause. I can guarantee I'll be returning after my Whole 30 concludes to sample their banana bread and french bread pizza (because a girl can't exist without sugar and grains forever).

Before I sign off, let's take one quick minute to relate this back to careers (I'm sorry, I have to).

Tonight's episode showed me just how much strong customer service wins. Andrea won not only my appreciation, but my return business and (obviously) my word of mouth, which hopefully brings in even more business for her. But providing good service isn't something that happens only in retail or restaurant industries. In truth, you can provide strong customer service in ANY job at ANY time.

Start by asking yourself who the customer is that you serve in your business, industry or role. Maybe it is an actual customer that you interact with everyday or maybe it's a customer you serve indirectly. If you really can't think about a customer you service, look at the people around you in your office. Can you provide strong service to your boss by reaching across the table and helping make their work easier? Can you serve your direct reports by guiding them, while giving them the room to grow? In what ways can you go above and beyond to show people that you care about them?

Oftentimes we get so wrapped up in our own career progress or success that we forget that our purpose goes well beyond ourselves. We forget that many of our greatest moments, and times when our impact is most far-reaching, are actually borne out of the service that we deliver to others.

I'll leave you to chew on that for a while (then tell me what you think in the comments section below). As for me? I'm going to go chew on a Whole 30 compliant snack. 13 more days.