Meet Rachel!

– If you love Rachel as much as we do, take a moment to vote for her in The Lansing City Pulse Top of the Town Awards! She is nominated for “Best Restaurant Wait Staff person“. While you are there, we’d love if you could throw Saddleback a vote for Best Dining in the Category, BBQ!

Service is something that we take very seriously at Saddleback. Even though we are a fast casual restaurant, we try to go that extra mile to make sure that our customers enjoy their meal and they have a good time while they are here. That’s why Rachel is so important to everything that we do.

If you’ve ever been to Saddleback, odds are you know Rachel. Rachel is a people person. She has an incredible ability to see a face and remember a name. Rachel knows almost every customer by name, what they like to order, and probably the type of bbq sauce they enjoy. Not to mention that she loves everything Saddleback (she even has our logo tattooed on her leg!) making her our hypeman like the Hip Hop music that she loves so much.

Without further ado, let’s allow Rachel to give you a behind the scenes look at what goes into our customer service experience:

How do you feel about being the Saddleback Hypeman?

First off, being dubbed the SB Hypeman is much cooler than cheerleader- but i guess I fit the bill no matter which way you cut it. I love my job. I also take the service we provide very seriously.

Why is customer service so important to you?

Maybe it’s because I am a very picky customer. I am the girl that orders her food with substitutions or extra of something. It’s not unusual for me to request extra plates. Don’t fill my coffee too full because I need to add ice (you may put too much or too little so it’s easier if I just do it)… yep… I am basically high maintenance and difficult.

That’s funny. So besides for the fact that you yourself are a difficult customer, why does it matter to you so much how the customer feels?

I am highly empathetic. I try to treat others how I would like to be treated. Saddleback is my home outside of my home. If you are coming to my home I want you to not only feel welcome but that your presence is important and impactful – yes, YOU impact me, the people I work with and the small business we are trying to push forward. We have a solid product that I not only love but believe in- this actually makes the sales portion of what I do easy. My transparency works to an advantage in Saddleback because you would know if I didn’t love it; it would be writen all over me.

It’s pretty obvious to anyone that comes in the door that you love your job. What makes you enjoy it so much?

I could literally spend all day listing a million reasons why I love the people I work with/for – they are all unique, and each one brings something to the table that cannot be duplicated. I have the most solid team of people by my side. I would put our product and our service up against anyone and have total faith in whatever the outcome would be. Saddleback is a business, but it is also a family. Sometimes we drive each other nuts and make each other mad but at the end of the day family is always first and we have each other’s back.

How big is the Saddleback Team?

SB is small… we have a dining room with 7 tables if you include the window seating, our staff is a grand total of 12: overnight pitmasters, Daytime Pitmasters/Chefs, FOH staff (Front of House), managers, an owner-operator, and another owner off site managing social media & marketing. I am amazed at the things we accomplish and yet I have come to expect nothing less….

What does your position entail at Saddleback?

So here I am, struggling to give you the information on the job I do and the roll I play. Here is what I can tell you: I am the first face I want you to see when you come in the door. I will do whatever I can to make sure my customers have what they want- not just because they deserve it but because I believe in what we do. I know that everything is made from scratch and with love. I have watched the people I work with play around with flavor profiles and recipe. I have seen the hours that they put in. I know that they will never hand me a product that is anything less than top of the line. All of these things make my job easy. Yes, I am bias, and understandably so…

How long have you been with Saddleback?

I started with SB around a week before we opened. I have watched us grow and evolve. It has not always been easy but nothing worthwhile is. I have seen all of your faces, learned your names, what you prefer – if you get the same thing every time or if you’re willing to play lunch time roulette and let me pick what you eat (yes, I have a customer who comes in regularly, lets me choose anything I want, and asks zero questions), I know about your family and how big your kids are. If your mother has been sick or if you have recently, these are the things I pick up on. I am attached to this Saddleback and our customers emotionally no matter which way I cut it and I love that about where I work. I love what I do. Where else can you connect with another human, even if only for a few minutes and impact their day?? In the 20 min I see my customers I am given the opportunity to make their day a little brighter because what is better than food made with love (probably why BBQ is referred to as soul food) and human connection? I sort of feel like I am the one who is winning, because you all have helped me find a place that fits me and that I fit!

What’s the relation to Saddleback and Hip-hop?

I mean if you know anything about me there are 3 things I love above most anything: my family, music, and hip hop culture. I mean we have a day dedicated to hip hop and that was something I made a contribution to. The reason I bring up Wu Tang Wing Wednesdays is because I am taken seriously and my ideas actually are not only considered but sometimes put into action. My voice matters to Saddleback. At a minimum I can make sure to give that back to the customers I encounter daily. I want to let them know they matter and we are grateful for the support! The only way I know how to do that is to do my best to make our customers feel welcome and give the best service I know how to give.