Restaurant Week: The Melting Pot

Restaurant Week: The Melting Pot, 12th and Filbert, http://www.meltingpot.com/

My friends and I had a fantastic, nearly ethereal time at the Melting Pot today. It was one of those outings that bordered on too good to be true: The conversation was easy and loose, the food was delicious and fun, and everybody was having a great time.

Which made me wonder how the heck Melting Pot was doing such a good job. Nobody bats 1000. But here it was, the evidence in front of me, tables upon tables of people paying a lot of money to dip stale bread into cheese and cook their own bits of steak. And I was having just as much fun as they were. Why?

In his book Winning, Jack Welch says that the most effective teams share common goals. And, though modest, we did share one common goal: Thou shalt stuff thy face. And we did. And it was good.

Because the dips are shared, we had to come to consensus on which cheeses we wanted to eat. I was concerned the choice would be difficult and that some individuals would be dissatisfied, but these discussions set the group up for good conversation and flow during the meal. We were faced with a decision, and with a little cooperation, we were rewarded with melted cheese.

Working together creates a bond that spans differences, whether it’s the cheddar-lover/swiss-fanatic divide or even the North Jersey/South Jersey divide. (Clearly the latter is a more significant divide since it also includes a language barrier. Because I plan to stay in the area, I have hired a tutor and am working with a Berlitz program nightly to achieve fluency. But I digress.)

Even when the challenge is as small as choosing a melted cheese, the reward of good teamwork is a sense of camaraderie and a recipe for a great meal and a great night. Who knew that Melting Pot could teach the business student a lesson on management? I’m taking this to the Nova MBA program. The students will thank me later.

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