Meet Rita

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Whoever invented protein shakes, as an alternative to a warm savory breakfast, should be shamed for denying the joy of eggs, cheese grits and pancakes on their plate. On the days I opt to eat on the road during my new hour-plus commute, I stop at McDonald’s in Tappahannock, VA where I will happily order an Egg McMuffin with extra egg, extra cheese, and no meat. I also have the opportunity to see my friend Rita, the cashier, as I make my way through the drive thru line. 

As I pull around the bend to the “first window”, Rita happily accepts my money, and in exchange, provides a warm and friendly smile. It’s a smile like no other! When I first visited this establishment, Rita questioned my choice of meals, inquiring why I neglected to keep the Canadian bacon while adding the extra eggs and cheese to the Egg McMuffin. “Is it good?” she asked. I explained my allergy situation and she declared that she would have to try my take on the national breakfast sandwich. Weeks passed, I continued to visit McDonald’s and Rita continued to engage in a conversation during my 20 seconds with her at the window. She arrives for the morning shift just before 5:00am and leaves in the afternoon to head to her other place of employment.  She has several children who attend local schools. She’s totally committed to participate in their lives and support them. At the same time, she’s learned about my children and a little about myself. 

There is something unique about Rita that I really admire. I’m a student of engagement. I don’t claim to always do it right, so when I see something during my daily life that prompts a feeling of happiness and respect, I have a tendency to analyze it for my own benefit. 

By this point, some of you are questioning my diet and are concerned that I eat entirely too much fast food. Hang in there with me while I share the real reason I’m writing about Rita. In a world where employees are hard to come by, and many of the ones that are working lack the qualities our grandparents best portrayed in the workforce, I am inclined to offer my gratitude to the ones who are happy to serve. Breaking down the lessons I’ve learned from Rita has improved my own delivery of customer service and I thought you might enjoy reading more about it. 

Why did McDonald’s win by putting Rita as the FIRST employee a customer sees at their establishment?

  • They created a personalized experience for their customers instead of simply going through the motor motions of their job.
  • My first inclination upon my visit is, “I wonder if Rita is working today?” Secondly is, “I get to eat my breakfast sandwich!” Rita makes every interaction pleasant and memorable which creates a sense of wellbeing for the company.
  • Employee engagement creates customer loyalty. I keep going back each week for the sandwich, but just as importantly, to chat with Rita.

What does Rita have that I wish I could bottle and sell?

  • Work ethic! She’s not just there, she’s engaged.
  • Rita has an earnest commitment to her employer and it’s evident in her interactions with the customer.
  • Rita is sincere. She’s not smiling because she’s paid to smile.  Her happiness is genuine; she truly cares and that is simply contagious. 

There aren’t many like Rita in the workforce these days. I hope McDonald’s in Tappahannock has their finger on the pulse of this gem. Now, go treat yourself to an Egg McMuffin without Canadian bacon, but with extra egg and extra cheese. And, if you happen to be in Tappahannock, VA be sure to stop by and say hello to Rita! I guarantee you…. you will love her smile!



1 Like
Recent Stories
Look Up

Invest in the Presentation

December 2022 Leadership Message From the ISFSI President: Seth Barker