Customer-Focus When the Customer Doesn’t Even Pay

Ennes cooking Diego pointed to this article for its uncommon attention to aesthetics, I point to it for its uncommon attention to the customer:

Mr. Ennes… might be the best soup kitchen chef in New York City. On Thanksgiving, when most of the cooks at the city’s other 470-some soup kitchens simply roasted turkey, he prepared “turkey four ways,” including one with mango-ginger glaze and tropical fruit stuffing.

Despite the care he puts into his cooking, he doesn’t mind a little criticism. “They’re still customers, whether they’re paying $100 a plate or nothing,” Mr. Ennes said. “One thing we do here is listen to people and let them complain. Where else can a homeless person get someone to listen to them?”

…At Broadway Community, everyone gets to eat. There is no humiliating food line to stand in. Volunteers set each of Mr. Ennes’s courses in front of the diners.

“When you force people to queue up for food, you encourage pushiness and aggressiveness and hardness,” he said. “Sitting at a table and being served encourages community.”