It’s not hard to guess where Charles “Biscuit Head” Harris got his nickname.
The fact that the eight-year employee of a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen  quick-service restaurant in Little Rock, Ark., wears a large foam rubber biscuit on his head to work every day is a clue. But it’s not the hat that makes Harris, a frequent Employee of the Month and motivational speaker, stand out.
Harris is known for his infectious positive attitude and high-energy style of customer service. At age 70, Harris works the dining room with a mix of humor and warmth—as well as a conviction that just about anyone can benefit from “a big ol’ hug” or a heartfelt rendition of the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Popeyes, with 1,905 units worldwide, is owned by Atlanta-based AFC Enterprises Inc.
Why do you wear a biscuit on your head?
I want people to laugh and to smile. I want people to forget what happened to them at work. Why should people be miserable when they could be joyful?
Can you explain your philosophy of customer service?
My philosophy is to be joyful. Everybody I encounter, when I ride the bus or wherever, we have a good time laughing. I care about people. I went to a prison recently and told them, ‘You guys are awesome. Hug me.’ And they loved it because nobody ever tells them that. I did some motivational speeches for a bank and walked around and made people smile. I tell real estate brokers the same thing: Don’t go around with a negative attitude.
At the restaurant, I have kids with autism who come in to get their pictures taken with me, and grandmothers. I know people from Buffalo, N.Y., who are here getting cancer treatment, and they come by here to have lunch with me because they say I cheer them up.
What do you do there at Popeyes?
I clean tables, throw garbage out and make tea. Mostly I please customers. I even pray for a lot of them, if they’re hurt or sick. We know a lot about the healing value of love, peace and laughter now. It can calm down your blood pressure. I figure, everything has two sides, a bad side and a good side. Why not pick the good side?
You should hear me when I start singing around here. I get the customers singing sometimes, too. When someone has a birthday, I’ll stand up and get everyone singing.
It sounds like you enjoy teaching about customer service?
I hope to get invited to the corporate office. There are so many things I’d like to tell them about their stores.
I want to go to General Motors and say that when a customer walks away with that auto, they’ve thought about it and prayed about it. General Motors needs to make sure that customer knows they’ve got the best car, that they’ve made a good decision for their family.
It’s the same with Popeyes. You got a whole bunch of restaurants around here, but people pick Popeyes out. Why? The food’s good, sure, but it’s the awesomeness of the employees. They show they care. It just makes all the difference in the world.