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Old 01-10-2005, 10:39 AM   #1
 
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What's the most important thing to you when eating out?

Though quality of food and atmoshphere are very important to any dining experience, people will know in the first 10 minutes if they are going to feel welcome. How the hostess or service person treats you can set the whole tone of the meal. Prices, I don't think, are such an issue, because it all depends on what kind of establishment it is. I think people pretty much know when they choose a certain type of restaurant, what the price range is going to be. An example would be going to a fine italian restaurant and ordering brick oven pizza or deciding to go to Pizza Hut.

Back on the customer service thing... I have been waited on and something with my meal hadn't turned out just quite right (being wrong, under-cooked, over-cooked, etc), but it's all in how the server or management handle the situtaion. If they act like I've made their day worse (rolling eyes, sighing), then that would definitely make me not want to return there. In the restaurant business, you can always have an off day here and there. If they sincerely try to remedy a problem, then I forget what the problem was in the first place.

On the other side of the coin, I have experienced great food, great prices, but the service was rude. If you wanted a glass of water, more napkins, or perhaps dessert, they were no where to be found. Needless to say, I might give the place another chance, but I would really have to think about it.

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Old 01-10-2005, 10:44 AM   #2
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In our family there is only one rule: Wait to see what I am ordering, and then choose something entirely different Seriously, no matter what type of restaurant we go to - or whether it is upscale or not - if ANYONE in the group are going to find their choice is forgotten (has happened more times than I car to tell!) it will be me... If any dish is going to be overcooked, undercooked, cold, etc - it'll be mine....
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Old 01-10-2005, 10:48 AM   #3
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It is quality and service.
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:37 AM   #4
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I love that it would have great food, which let's face it, isn't often times the case. It's usually typical restaurant faire. But, being ignored or really lousy service knocks my teeth out and makes me swear against ever going there again.
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:43 AM   #5
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One of my main pet peeves is fake hospitality.

The best example was one time that me and Tom went to rock bottom brewery which I consider the starbucks of beer (lot's of uniques, they try to educate people on beer tasting and pairing, too much corporate culture floating in the air). Any way's I get some rib's, we share some good atrichoque dip and he might of gotten fajitas or something like that. To acompany this we kept ordering different types of beer (we are both pretty robust so it take's quite a few to really do any damage) so idealy we are the customers you want to leave alone. They are the guy's who are already spending a lot of money so you dont need to prod them, but no...

Every 2 minutes our server would apear, interrupt with something witty like "how are those rib's treating you", ask if we needed any thing and walk off. It's like "look, both of us are halfway through our 4th beer, we will call you if we need anything". I mean it's not like I gave the guy $10 and said "can you do me a favor? Come by and interrupt our conversation every couple of minutes".

My favorite waiters are "ninja waiters" which are more common outside the u.s. (mexico for instance). You blink and suddenly your water is full, yet you see no one around you. Every time something is EMPTY then the waiter materializes next to you first asking if they can retrieve the glass or dish and THEN offering more.
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:52 AM   #6
 
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Yes, I know what you mean Lugaru!! I call them plastic waiters/waitresses. I love going to Red Lobster for their salmon and their cheesy/garlic biscuits, but I can't stand the service. It's like they're reading from a script that management wants them to recite when approaching a table. They are also expected to "upsell" to the customer, meaning to get the customer to order more drinks, appetizers, dessert. I just like going to a place where the service is natural and they use their own personality... not someone else's.
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:05 PM   #7
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Tell me about it, Fried. I was a server at TGI Fridays for about two years and that's essentially what the job description is. To become hired you have to pass a few written tests (you're provided with study guides, etc. a week beforehand) and be knowledgable about a thick handbook that was written by corporate types who obviously know nothing about actually running a restaurant. Yes, there is a "scripted" guide on how to deal with any situation. The money was great but I hated the job, the only reason I stayed so long was because I became good friends with the other servers, cooks and even a couple managers. I'll never eat at a Fridays again.
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:20 PM   #8
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Sorry about the "Friday's" rant. The next time I hear someone say "fit the corporate image" tho, I'm gonna scream!
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:22 PM   #9
 
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All those places are the same though.. Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday's, Applebees.. I love TGI Fridays though... I'll put up with the plastic people!
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:38 PM   #10
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For me it is the taste of the food first and foremost. Anything else I can overlook (well almost anything else). I have been to places where the staff is beyond rude, but the food was fantastic. If the food is THAT good then I don't care how they act to me as long as they are not spitting in my meal. Ambiance, price, and everything else are important too, but if the food doesn't taste good then who cares how inexpensive it is? I go to a restaurant to eat so how the food tastes is my main thing.
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:40 PM   #11
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For Paul and I a QUIET place is very important.
We don't go out much and when we do we like it to be
a peaceful experience.

Good food is important
and so is service. I always order HOT WATER with lemon, Paul always gets cold water. For some reason his glass gets filled a million times but, I have to beg for more. I always tip more if the server brings me more water with out asking. I know it's a small thing but, it shows they care.

I like to be waited on but, I do NOT like overly friendly waiters. We used to go to the Outback Steak house but, quit because the servers would SIT at the table and chat when taking the orders. Sorry, I want to have dinner with my husband or friends not with a stranger......
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:53 PM   #12
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I should probably amend my last post. I should say that it also depends on the type of restaurant we are eating at. If it is a classy place then I do expect the service and ambiance to be great, but if it is just a hole in the wall type place then it is all about the food.
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Old 01-10-2005, 01:01 PM   #13
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pdswife, I went to Joe's Crab Shack once and the servers formed a conga line and encouraged the patrons to dance with them! C'mon, I'm trying to eat, not dance! :x
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Old 01-10-2005, 01:23 PM   #14
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Like hte majority of you, I think it's a combination of quality food and service. And for Dh and I, we have a couple of "oldies but goodies"--places where we can trust we'll always get what we expect. That's important to me--I want to know that it's worth the time and money to eat out and not be surprised or disappointed that the food/service aren't anything like they were the last time.

(And I agree--I hate the conga-line dancing/Happy Birthday song screeming wait staffs! )
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Old 01-10-2005, 01:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DampCharcoal
pdswife, I went to Joe's Crab Shack once and the servers formed a conga line and encouraged the patrons to dance with them! C'mon, I'm trying to eat, not dance! :x
That would have driven me CrAzY!
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Old 01-10-2005, 02:00 PM   #16
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For me, the quality of food is most important...because, after all, that is why I came to the restaraunt...for good food first. If the dish does not meet my expectations, i.e. over or undercooked, presentation, I think a good rule of thumb is to speak to the manager in a polite manner or perhaps write a letter in a kind way. I think the owner would appreciate knowing about patrons concerns.

If I'm looking for ambiance/setting, I would not necessarily expect a five star dinner...might just go for the cocktail or setting...although both would be a nice package. When I visit a restaurant & am very pleased with the dish, never hurts to go back & compliment the chef on his/her efforts to let them know they are appreciated.

If the service is not up to par, think management would be grateful to learn of patrons concerns, since, to me, that might me a reason why their business may be failing.
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Old 01-10-2005, 05:09 PM   #17
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1st = Cleanliness

2nd = Quality of food

3rd = Service..................hey if the place is clean and the food is awesome then you can bet I'll go there whether the service is great, average or poor. I generally tip graciously so treat me well and I'll tip you well......20 - 25 percent. However, on a scale of 1 to 5 and 5 being the very best:

5 = 20 % - 25%
4 = 2.00
3 = 1.00
2 or 1 = no tip...........no place should have servers that are on this level.

Service is polite and courteous..........no overthe top stuff though. Someone who promptly approaches my table and introduces themselves and asks me my beverage preference then gives me time to browse the menu. Someone who listens intently to my choices, someone who is knowledgeable about the menu and ingredients. Someone who asks me if I need a refill before my drink is 1/4 empty. Someone who asks if we need anything else when bring us our food. Someone who returns within a couple minutes after we received our food to be sure we didn't forget something we needed or to check if the food is to my liking. Then leaves us alone to eat till we are just about finished to return to see if we would care for anything else. Someone who promptly brings our bill after the main meal dishes have been cleared and we've refused dessert because we're always too stuffed. Now thats service to me. Something I would provide to my previous customers many years ago when I was a waitress.
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Old 01-10-2005, 05:15 PM   #18
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Well put, SizzlininIN, maybe we should start a thread for ex-servers!
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Old 01-10-2005, 05:46 PM   #19
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I check prices.
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Old 01-10-2005, 07:02 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdswife1
For Paul and I a QUIET place is very important.

Good food is important
and so is service. I always order HOT WATER with lemon, Paul always gets cold water. For some reason his glass gets filled a million times but, I have to beg for more. I always tip more if the server brings me more water with out asking. I know it's a small thing but, it shows they care.

...
My father would always base his tip on how may times he saw the bottom of his coffee cup.
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