MACON, Ga. — The service industry was hit hardest during the pandemic between supply problems, finding employees, and even just getting people in the door.
In our 'Service with a Smile' series, we're highlighting restaurant employees who dug deep and gave people a positive experience, keeping them coming back for more.
Up first, we're introducing you to a man at Fincher's BBQ who's never been seen without a smile on his face -- they call him Tater!
Pamela Mayfield nominated Tater on Facebook. Her family frequents Fincher's.
"The food is what makes you come, but Tater is what keeps you coming back," said Mayfield.
Danny Jackson (Tater) was born and raised in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood. His mom and two of his aunts have worked or still work at Fincher's, too.
One word comes up more than any other as people describe Tater -- family.
Doug Fincher is the grandson of the original owner. He says Tater and his family mean a lot to the restaurant.
"They're part of our family... his mom is one of a kind," said Fincher.
Fincher even spoke at his aunt's funeral.
"She was one of my favorite people I've ever met," he said. "A rock."
So, love runs in the family! People sing the praises of Tater as a server because he's personable and loving.
"I just love everybody the same and treat everybody equally," he said. "I don't let anything get me down."
Lynda Grissom has been a faithful customer for decades. She remembers the original Fincher's, but now she goes to the one on Houston Road just to see Tater.
"We're definitely glad to have Tater out here," she said. "Actually, I just came in to get a Coke... people gravitate to the days (and) nights that he's working."
All the way to Fincher's; just for a Coke!
"I just keep the faith in God and he allows me to help people and smile and give hugs," Tater said. "I want to just uplift you."
And hugs are his favorite part of the job.
"He always greets us with a hug when we get there and one when we leave... he gets to know all his customers and always has a smile on his face. He is the BEST," said Carolyn King on Facebook.
"I love working here," Tater said. "I smile all day long. I love to smile, and I love people."
Tater has the phone numbers for a lot of his elderly customers and always makes sure to check in on them. He'll even buy their food for them and meet them at their car to give them the meal. He also says he has photos with his customers all over his house.
"They over-tip me and it's a blessing," he said. "They're always generous to me."
But his customers don't think it's over tipping.
"He could run this whole dining room by himself," said Grissom.
"He is one of the most hard-working people I've ever known, and he's proud of his job," said Mayfield.
Tater doesn't take all the credit himself, but says he has a great staff and has made a family at Fincher's. Recently, he's been having a hard time, so this recognition has him "through the roof."
Fincher's has four locations: Gray Highway, Houston Avenue, North Davis in Warner Robins, and of course Houston Road (where you can find Tater). They serve breakfast now at the Houston Road location and they are open seven days a week.
They serve ribs, chicken, BBQ plates, and more. Next time you're at Fincher's, say hey to Tater and make sure to thank the staff for all their hard work!