What makes Gayle’s Bakery always have a line of happy customers?

I’ve been patronizing Gayle’s Bakery and Rosticceria in Capitola, CA for decades. I make a point of stopping whenever I am nearby. Yesterday, I made a special trip 10 miles out of my way to take an out-of-town friend to have a Gayle’s experience.

We arrived at 2:15 for a late lunch. There was a queue of people pressed against the food cases trying to decide among the myriad of mouthwatering choices. At the far end was the hot food — chicken, fish, ribs, twice-baked potatoes, garlic Parmesan bread, to name a few. Next came the fresh salads — we choose beets with feta cheese, a coleslaw with peanuts, a tuna fish salad and a broccolini and carrot salad. My friend had creme of asparagus soup with a fresh-baked roll and I had a marinated chicken sandwich.

Every bite was scrumptious. Gayles makes everything fresh daily, with natural ingredients, creating more than 500 different pastries, cakes, cookies, breads, sandwiches and entreés. Even the mayonnaise is made for scratch!

After we relished our delectable lunch, we returned to the display case for dessert. Dozens of options made choosing difficult, but we managed. And we even got some day-old bread to take home. (Of course, it doesn’t taste day old.)

You’d guess that the quality of the food is what makes this bakery so successful (they have 115 employees for their one location.) You may also guess that their employees also contribute to the positive experience customers have. Gayle’s employment web page says, “Our employees take great pride in their work and uphold the highest standards for their co-workers and customers.”

Every employee we interacted with was not just pleasant, but downright friendly. They were patient as we chose our taste treats. They offered us samples of anything we were considering. They made recommendations based on what we said we liked. They laughed and smiled and seemed to sincerely enjoy their jobs.

For decades I’ve preached to my consulting clients that customer service has to begin with how executives and managers treat their staff. If employees feel taken care of and treated well, they will be more likely to treat customers the same. It appears this is true for Gayle’s team. They are offered food discounts, health insurance and vacation pay. It seems they are treated well by their managers.

If your organization is struggling, take a look at how your employees are treated. Chances are, they will be treating your customers similarly to how they are treated.

Next time you’re in Santa Cruz, CA, take a slight detour to check out Gayle’s. Study what they do that you can apply to your organization. And enjoy the treats as you do your research.

Read other examples like this in Remarkable Customer Service…And Disservice.