How to Make a Sandwich

Author: Lee Brennan
Date Published: April 21, 2019

How to Make a Sandwich


I sat across the table from her as we enjoyed our per­son­al­ized pizza’s win­dow side, a world away from the bus­tle hap­pen­ing through the thin veil of the win­dow pane. It was a teach­ing moment with my astute and, at times, very direct daugh­ter of shar­ing the men­tal tac­tic of rec­og­niz­ing two plus­es for any minus­es. “Does this have any­thing to do with me let­ting you know it was time to update your wardrobe ear­li­er, Dad?!”

She may have been right. On both counts…

I checked out the social media reviews of the restau­rant we were in a few min­utes lat­er and it made me think; do we prac­tice this same cour­tesy in the dig­i­tal universe?

It’s the sand­wich tac­tic, where a cri­tique is deliv­ered wise­ly, the meat of which is buffered by the soft­er effects of a com­pli­ment, and the encour­age­ment of recog­ni­tion. We all appre­ci­ate it when the spot­light is on us but seem to often for­get our graces when the gav­el is in our hands. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly true when it comes to the restau­rant industry.

While it may be true that restau­rants have a mas­sive tool in social media if they use it well, the pow­er the con­sumer wields over them is unde­ni­able. Those col­lec­tive stars, inter­mit­tent blogs, tweets and shares can cause incomes to rise and fall with dra­mat­ic effect. Con­sumers know this and, in some cas­es, are frankly a bit drunk with the pow­er of the posi­tion they are in.

Restau­rants make a lot of mis­takes. It is a hard busi­ness and good help is hard to come by. Near­ly all restau­rant own­ers and man­agers man­age chaos to a degree that most could not han­dle and, gen­er­al­ly, it is their pas­sion for the work that enables them to endure the grind.

Con­se­quent­ly, being in the peo­ple busi­ness, they tend to val­ue the feed­back of peo­ple to a degree that can make or break their day and the mood of their teams.

As con­sumers, we can evolve when it comes to using this pow­er to cre­ate a cul­ture of improve­ment in our com­mu­ni­ty restaurants.

Sure, there may be the occa­sion­al soup nazi, and some expe­ri­ences are gen­uine­ly bad.  How­ev­er, why do we trade our cour­tesy sole­ly in favor of crit­i­cism when we rec­og­nize a deficit.

The same capac­i­ty that allows you to rec­og­nize a prob­lem is mir­rored with an equal capa­bil­i­ty to rec­og­nize a solu­tion and, as impor­tant­ly, the things they are doing right. Talk about these things in your feedback.

“…they tend to val­ue the feed­back of peo­ple to a degree that can make or break their day and the mood of their teams. ”

I promise you, they are lis­ten­ing with intent and they are shar­ing it with their teams. It’s not sug­ar coat­ing and it’s not B.S. to tell some­one some­thing affirm­ing when it’s time to share some­thing dif­fi­cult. It’s sim­ply polite, and it’s wise in terms of the effect it has. And this, is how you make a sandwich.

Lee Bren­nan

Author, Busi­ness Development

With a back­ground forg­ing words, food, and liba­tions into recipes Lee Bren­nan has com­bined this back­ground, and a love for peo­ple, into a cel­e­bra­tion of it all in his col­umn Places and Pro­pri­etors. He has worked the full gamete of the restau­rant world over decades start­ing out as an over­all kitchen grunt, to mar­ket­ing spe­cial­ist, to own­er. Cur­rent­ly, he works as a writer and con­sults with restau­rants to help them devel­op their con­cepts and oper­a­tions both before they open and as they seek to hone in on achiev­ing their best.

He is dri­ven by an under­stand­ing that life is dif­fi­cult and we can’t vaca­tion every week­end to get away from it all. But we can go to our favorite cof­fee shops, pubs, and restau­rants. That these places are havens where the fruit of our hard work inter­sects with the cre­ativ­i­ty of pas­sion­ate peo­ple to cre­ate the expe­ri­ence of moments that mat­ter. With every sip, bite, and con­ver­sa­tion we share togeth­er we give our lives a bet­ter sto­ry. Places and Pro­pri­etors is here to tell those stories.

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Lee Brennan

Lee Brennan

Lee Brennan has worked across a broad spectrum in his career ranging from journalism, culinary arts, ministry, and living the life of an entrepreneur. Currently residing in Tulsa, OK, where he is raising his beloved daughter and enjoying life with his friends and family, Lee is driven by a love for people and a passion for telling great stories.


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