by Dana Cavalea August 12, 2020


Hi Team...

So, I told you this past weekend I was traveling to Pennsylvania and spent a good amount of time on the road....

Well, when you do a lot of driving- you get hungry.

So, you stop to try and find the best possible option so you can feel great and continue on your way...

After heading to Yelp, I cam across the Millburn Deli, in Millburn, NJ.

Doing business since 1946- I figured it must be a real hit and splendid place to go..

And that is when the action started... Sunday, 4:30pm.

I open the door- and am immediately shouted at by a young woman working the register...

"Sir, we are at capacity- stand outside." (Strike 1)

Ok- what should one think? So, I decided to follow directions and stand outside. After watching 6 customers walk out, I was still not invited back in.

Ten minutes later, another young lady came to the door and asked me if I worked for DoorDash and if I was here to pick up an order? (Strike 2)

Now- being in business, consulting with companies on service and team, I knew immediately there was a hole in the people development game of this business..

After heading back into the deli, I could not help myself.

I let the young woman have it: "Before you tell somebody to stand outside, why don't you try saying hello to a paying customer first."

Obviously, she had to defend herself- as many young, inexperienced, non-service oriented service professionals do...

So, I let it go and head back on line.

Seconds later, her partner in crime decides to scold me and educate me on how to wear a mask properly.. (Strike 3)...

Now, let's talk.

Let's talk about the importance of every customer.

Every customer matters.

Every person matters.

Especially people that want to pay and support your business- in the service business especially- it is your job to let people know how excited you are to serve them not just a great meal- but a great experience.

What is wild about this whole exchange is that the owners have no idea it happened. They have no idea that this went down the way it did.

Do you know what is going on in your business? Or on your team?

I am sure some of you can relate to my experience in some way.

What did I do?

I told them: "Learn how to treat your customers"... and walked out to patronize another local business.

The Millburn Deli lost financially, they lost a new customer, they lost a future customer. So the cost was high.

What if there are others like me?

Multiply that out. It adds up.

You see, just because a business has been around since 1946 does not mean it is operating under the same set of values it did in the beginning.

That is my other lesson for you today- is your business operating under the same values when you began?

Obviously it has evolved- but those core values should never change.

Your core values should never change.

It is your job as a Leader to make sure your people embody and exude those same values.

When they don't- you have a great chance of providing horrible experiences like the one above.

It is your duty to always go above and beyond whenever you can for people- make them know that you care.

When you care- you win.

When you go the extra inch- you win.

It is all a game of inches and you gotta go after that inch whenever you can.

Customers can go anywhere today.

YOU can go anywhere today.

Always do your best to make people know you care and have their best interest front and center.

Go out and win today.

Let's go!



Dana Cavalea
Dana Cavalea

Dana Cavalea is the World Champion Director of Strength and Conditioning & Performance of the New York Yankees. Currently, he is a High Performance Speaker & Consultant to Pro Athletes, Entrepreneurs, Business Executives, and Workforces on lifestyle strategies to reduce stress, improve work/life integration, and most importantly improve daily performance /outcomes. Book Dana to Speak at your Company Event or Conference Today!

5 Responses


January 10, 2023

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August 19, 2020



August 19, 2020


James Racioppi
James Racioppi

August 14, 2020

Wow Dana with the amount of injuries your NY Yankees have suffered last year and already this year I wouldn’t tell anyone else how to run a business. In my opinion you’re lucky to have that job. Any other business and you’d be fired by now. So let’s just stick to what you think you know and stay out of the deli business.

Heather Trumpore
Heather Trumpore

August 13, 2020

Wow – so you went into a well established community business during the Covid-19 pandemic where the regulations are constantly changing and employees are having to deal with customers who don’t follow the new health regulations and have the nerve to use YOUR inability to follow directions and read signs or wear a mask as an example of bad service?! Not only that you have the nerve to use your position to bad-mouth a family business during a time when all business, especially restaurants, are doing what they can to survive and you stomp on their reputation in the guise of bad service when you actually were the inconsiderate customer? Go there on a normal Saturday and see a well-oiled machine at work and the extraordinary number of customers the serve. See how they adjusted their business to address the demand and delivers so walk-ins would be served better. See how they addressed making sure their employees and customers felt safe during the pandemic. Talk to the owner who is active and wants people to reach out to him directly with any concerns.

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