Judy Pettit may well be the very best waitress in Oxford as for the previous 14 years she has been perfecting her skills at the Beacon. Following is a brief Q&A with the young lady who has definitely left her mark on the hospitality industry.
Vassallo: Judy, tell us a little about your background, attempting to determine what sets you apart in your field.
Pettit: I grew up in Oxford and was raised by a mom with a very strict set of rules. We received everything we needed, but not what we wanted. I have taken this work ethic and mindset into my adult life.
Vassallo: Not trying to flatter you, but as much as I eat out, going to the Beacon is an added pleasure because of the exceptional service that you and the other servers provide. You don’t experience this level of service often.
Pettit: I love my job and take a positive attitude into work daily. Because I work many breakfasts, my customers probably see me first in their daily routine. I want to get their day started off on a very good note.
Vassallo: You learned your occupation quite young.
Pettit: I actually started at 15 because you could obtain a driver’s license at that age if you had a job. Back in 2005, the Beacon stayed open til 11 p.m. which presented me with an opportunity to excel and grow in the job.
Vassallo: Waitresses like you are extremely rare. Your customers want for nothing and never have to ask for refills or other service.
Pettit: I enjoy taking care of people. I treat my customers like they’re royalty. I always stay in a visible distance of my tables and never disappear from view. I am constantly accessible!
Vassallo: (LOL, I’ve had servers in the past, I reference as Halley’s Comet, i.e. they come by every 86 year’s.) Your regular customers are apparently spoiled.
Pettit: I have a core group of 50-60. I know all their regular orders, their kids’ names, what they do and just all about them. My nickname at the Beacon is Erin Brockovich as my memory is exceptional.
Vassallo: I would assume that your tips translate from this exceptional attentiveness.
Pettit: My regular customer’s tip in the 20-25% range to offset those that do not tip well such as many students.
Vassallo: Dining out frequently, one cannot help but notice that many servers are unable to balance multiple tables well and the tasks associated with this.
Pettit: I enjoys the chaos and the pressure that goes with it. In life, I’m actually a “last minute” person as you will find me at the stores making final purchases at midnight on Christmas Eve. The other side of the coin is that I’m early for everything. (Judy was 10 minutes early for this interview.)
Vassallo: If you were hiring waiters and waitresses, what qualities would you be looking for?
Pettit: Those with a good attitude. Hard workers with a strong work history. If they show up late, that’s it….they’re done.
Vassallo: Speaking of being a hard worker, do you not also have a house cleaning business?
Pettit: I take care of 17 homes in addition to my job at the Beacon. I never stop. And I could even take on a few more.
Vassallo: Wow! Talk about a go-getter! You must place a premium on staying in excellent shape and condition.
Pettit: I eat very healthy. You get out of your body what you put into it. I’m actually on my feet 10-12 hours a day.
Vassallo: In addition to all your job activities, you’re quite active in the community and at home.
Pettit: Raising my child and teaching the 4th-6th graders at Bethel Baptist Church on Wednesday nights keep me occupied away from work. I am also the director each year for Vacation Bible School.
Judy Pettit is a rare breed who could offer a clinic on customer service. She has perfected her skills through the years as many of us in Oxford can attest. As a regular customer to the Beacon spanning 53 years, Judy makes the visits there even more enjoyable. She can be reached at 662-607-1900 for anyone in need of cleaning assistance in their home.
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is an active Economic Development Consultant working with communities globally who live in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 985-852-7745.