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Why I Have Spent Most of My Professional Career in the Hospitality Industry

Hello and WELCOME!!

It is so very nice to meet you.

First off, I want to thank you for being such an integral part of my future just by reading my very FIRST blog post. Woohoo!

Second, you're probably here because you either:

A. Are considering my services and want to know more about me.

B. You want to know more about my philosophy behind customer service or what I like to call "Hospitality".

C. You are a dear friend or family member

All stellar reasons to be here. So here we go!

I am going to start off by giving you a little information about who I am, where I came from and where my desire to work with people came from.

My name is Mackenzie Marsh. I grew up in a town just outside of Del Mar, California called Carmel Valley. Did you know there are two towns called Carmel Valley in CA? I found this out on my annual camping trip to Big Sur with my family. You may have heard of the one just outside of Monterey, CA, where the air is crisp and the grapes & fermented grape beverages are delicious. My home town does not so much have the grapes but it does have the beautiful Pacific Ocean just a short bike ride away and an abundance of craft beer choices.

I grew up a lucky California girl and just like any regular kid; I went to school, played soccer and caused my parents grief as I always wanted be somewhere else, anywhere that wasn't where I was in the present. I always wanted MORE!

I had this innate sense in who people were based on how they treated others and what they said. I was an observer. Not the most chatty of the bunch but I sure was a listener.

With that, I learned the greatest gift of all, empathy. Some may say that empathy isn't a learned quality and in some ways I agree, that it comes to people more easily than it does others. However, you can indeed learn and succeed with empathy so as long as you just listen.

Slow down, listen to other peoples comments, concerns, feedback. Listen to the tone of their voice, to their body language, facial expressions.

This was such a crucial first step when working with my customers while in the restaurant industry. You only have so many precious moments to make a first impression and understand the needs of your guests from the moment they enter the restaurant or the moment they take a seat at the table. It is about establishing that great relationship before the work even really starts.

This blog post was inspired by a 2015 Forbes interview with the great restaurateur, Danny Meyer of which I read again very recently. He speaks of the differences between the terms, "customer service" and "hospitality" and how hospitality carries much more weight and value in the overall experience for both you and your guests.

Have you ever had that WOW unforgettable experience at a restaurant or a retail store? Think back on what made that experience so great. I am guessing it wasn't just the happy hour prices or the clearance sale. It was likely the way you felt while dining or shopping. As Danny Meyer says, "Authentic hospitality ensues when the human acts actually come from a true sense of thoughtfulness."

I had the great fortune of working with one of the most inspiring hospitality professionals of my career in San Francisco. I, of course, met and learned many other skills and developed some of the best relationships of my life thereafter but for the sake of this blog post, I am going to focus on this particular individual as he really turned this business into a true skill and craft for myself. Basically, launching the rest of my professional career.

Having watched my brothers for years work as servers and bartenders, I had a basic understanding of the hospitality industry. I so badly wanted to expand my career once I moved to San Francisco. After a short stint as a Barista and about $20 in my bank account, I embarked on the daunting task of applying for restaurant positions at some of the best restaurants in San Francisco with little experience. It sounds incredibly cheesy to say but it really was meant to be when I got a job with my mentor. He introduced me to the words of Danny Meyer:

This means to me that anyone who walks into your establishment with either a bright attitude or a poor attitude should be treated with equal amount of respect and generosity. My experience with the latter, more difficult customers, sometimes ended up being the best experiences. The real learning happened when I approached a difficult situation with confidence, kindness and an open ear to listen.

What I have learned in this modern fast paced world is that we often overlook the impact we have on others. To create a true genuine experience, we must have immense care and compassion for the other person's needs and for what we are doing. You are a true hospitality professional if you believe that and live your life as such. It is the most fun and rewarding part about working with people.

Upon moving away from San Francisco, a place I called my home for 7 years, I decided that I wanted to challenge myself by applying for jobs outside of the restaurant industry and see if I could utilize my skills in a different setting. So I took my skills to a payroll agency and found that hospitality doesn't have to be strictly practiced within the hospitality industry. You gain just as much of a valuable experience both for yourself and for your client base by listening, being honest and delivering with care no matter what industry you are in. That is why my philosophy is based on "treat others as you would like to be treated", The Golden Rule.

So, here I am...ready to take on the online world and am so ready to support you. For today, is like any other but I propose we take on the online world together from here forward.

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