Service in Restaurants/eateries

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KatyCooks

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,302
Location
Hampshire
This may be a UK thing, but I am interested how Americans/Canadians feel about it anyway!

Today was my birthday. I had pre-booked a table in a restaurant in town for myself and a couple of friends. (It was an online booking and they asked if there was an event and I confirmed it was a birthday.) When we arrived, we waited a good 4 - 5 minutes for anyone to even acknowledge our presence.

Eventually a guy arrived and pointed to a table right in front of the open door - in November. One of my friends asked if there was another table available. The guy was positively frosty! (And it was a "no".) My friend suggested other options (like pushing tables together since they were empty). "No." Eventually, we sat at tall "bar tables" and quickly realised we couldn't eat at them (imagine having the table at chest level and trying to eat.) We walked out.

Am I unreasonable, or (particularly since we have pre-booked, even regardless of the fact it was my birthday,) was this pretty poor service?
 
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Marlingardener

Senior Cook
Joined
Apr 24, 2022
Messages
273
Location
unincorporated area
Good heavens, yes that was poor service! Contact the manager, if there is one, and let him/her know about the reservation and the "greeting" you received. So sorry your birthday dinner was spoiled.
Here in Texas we have encountered very poor service at most restaurants and have pretty much given up on dining out. I hope that in the UK this was unusual.
 

KatyCooks

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,302
Location
Hampshire
We went on to eat (without a reservation) at Pizza Express and had really excellent service (and lovely Pizza), so our evening wasn't ruined at all @Marlingardener but thank you for confirming what I thought.

It's the company that counts! And my two companions of many decades made it a truly excellent evening. <3
 

KatyCooks

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,302
Location
Hampshire
That is definitely considered poor service here in Quebec.
Thanks Taxlady. I was wondering if I am just "odd" for expecting it in these "new" times. But the fact that just a few hundred yards away, at another establishment, they managed to treat us so well, proves it is entirely possible to run a modern restaurant properly.
 

larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
Messages
5,453
Location
Long Island, New York
With restaurants in the situation they're in ( post covid) they should do anything and everything to make it a positive experience in any case (which goes for any business in the service industry). Throw in an occasion like a birthday , anneversary , graduation ...they should go over the top. Especially when pre-booked and have the forwarding. We once had a waitress, who jus try interacting with us found out the were there to celebrate my daughter's 21st B-day, and unexpectedly brought out a box cannoli with a candle in it. We've been back several times since, partially cause they were so nice and thoughtful, and partially cause there truffle Mac & Cheese made in a flaming cheese wheel was the bomb !!! Everyone I know, knows the story, so great marketing at the cost of a few cannoli, and more importantly, just the right thing to do. You only get one chance to make aa first impression.
 

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IC 2.0

Cook
Joined
Aug 17, 2022
Messages
84
Location
Honolulu, HI
I think it's a two part challenge depending on the location and type of restaurant:

  1. Staffing. Many businesses are having trouble finding qualified and dedicated staffing to maintain service level and quality
  2. Generational. As time goes by, The standards of service that were constantly preached are not followed as closely. Training of, and enforcing of those standards are not prioritized.
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
29,308
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
I think it is in part the current staffing problem. And, a lot of wait staff want to be treated and paid better now. Living wages and life work balance seem to have gotten more important. If the staff isn't being treated well, it is usually reflected in how they treat the restos customers.
 

larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
Messages
5,453
Location
Long Island, New York
I think it is in part the current staffing problem. And, a lot of wait staff want to be treated and paid better now. Living wages and life work balance seem to have gotten more important. If the staff isn't being treated well, it is usually reflected in how they treat the restos customers.
Which is a Catch 22, cause if they continue to treat customers poorly, they wont get a raise, definitely wont get a good tip, and likely putting their job in jeopardy.
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
29,308
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
Which is a Catch 22, cause if they continue to treat customers poorly, they wont get a raise, definitely wont get a good tip, and likely putting their job in jeopardy.
Or one could say that if the resto continues to treat the workers poorly, the resto risks not having any customers to keep their resto going, so the savings on wages, along with all of their profits, will vanish.
 

cookiecrafter

Senior Cook
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
310
Location
Chicago
When I have to think about dining with a waiter/waitress, I just don't go. Putting up with these people spoils everything and I do not want to encourage their career.
 

KatyCooks

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,302
Location
Hampshire
Really interesting points raised here - and I agree with pretty much everything that has been said. Ultimately, it must come down to training and the attitude of the restaurant. If any business (and a restaurant is a business just like any other), wants to survive and even thrive, it must give the customer what they want. And what I want as a restaurant customer is good food that is priced according to the quality promised, and an ambience that matches the "hype". Ambience cannot be achieved with miserable, unhappy staff. It is entirely possible of course that the guy we encountered was in a very bad mood but he put two tables together for the next group of people who came in after us (without a reservation), and that is what tipped us over the edge and prompted us to walk out. He was downright rude and we did nothing to deserve it. Bad apple....
 

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