Best Service??

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jross10
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2005/11/16 02:23:34 (permalink)

Best Service??

I have been in the restaurant business now for around 7 years. Everything from managing to bussing tables. I think something that is overlooked on this site a lot is the kind of service provided at these establishments. I have eaten at some restaurants where the food was terrible, but the experience was still excellent and vice versa, where the food was excellent, but the experience was terrible. I would have to say that I think a lot of people take servers or restaurant employees for granted, but haven't you all dealt with excellent servers and poor servers as well. I guess I just wanted to see what everyone thought about this. I also thought this might be a good place just to let everyone know that servers these days expect more than just 15%. The average is closer to 20% these days. If you look at party gratuities at restaurants the gratuity is usually around 18%. Most people know this trend, but thought I would I might point this out for those who didn't know that. If you do get that excellent server, tell a manager. Managers love to hear compliments. Granted, I hear a lot of complaints, but I really love hearing compliments more, so tell the manager how great your experience was; they will appreciate it. Anyone else out there have anything to add, please do.
#1

34 Replies Related Threads

    -Tricky-
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/16 07:53:56 (permalink)
    Can open. Worms everywhere.
    #2
    wallhd
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/16 09:00:38 (permalink)
    Good service in an eating establishment is much desired but not often achieved.

    If establishments would pay their employess properly, tipping wouldn't be expected or necessary at all.

    Wearing my Nomex today just in case!

    Wally
    #3
    berndog
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/16 10:02:18 (permalink)
    Nomex would be a good idea for this post. I can feel the heat from the flaming already.

    jross, you are quite new here (first post), and the subjects you raise have been discussed many times over the years. Just the past six months have seen posts on tipping and how to reward great service compared to lambasting poor service.

    As for food quality versus service, I disagree with you. I would not return to a restaurant with terrible food no matter how good the service was, but would go back where the food was excellent in hopes the service would improve.
    #4
    Fieldthistle
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/16 11:47:53 (permalink)
    Hello All,
    Where I live, close to Harrisonburg, Va, a college town and also a booming city, most the restaurants
    have good cooks or chefs, and the servers are college students or women who have a tint of maturity, and
    I am not taking about age, but of life.
    The college students know what they are told to tell the customer. They push what the restaurant wants them
    to push, and too often talk about themselves. So many times, my wife and I, force fake smiles or concern
    over hearing of their plight with their classes, professors or what they eventually are going to do with their
    lives once they graduate. I must admit, my wife is a professor and a bit too motherly, and may seem to offer
    a listening ear. It just makes me drink more. Both male and female student servers do this. It doesn't deter
    my tip, but it does bore the living daylights out of me. They also just seem distracted just when I need another refill.
    The women who have a tint of maturity on the other hand seem to have a grasp of listening to what we want, offering
    suggestions, and watch our table while not smothering us. They are a treasure and I am so glad to surprise them with
    a tip that makes their eyes sparkle.
    I never go back to a place with bad food, regardless of the quality of the service.
    No offense is meant in my comments. When I go out, I want helpful service with the meal and drinks, not a new
    relationship that may not be there in 2 months. But that is our area, a college town. It would be great to have
    servers that are lifers at a restaurant, and establish some mutual kinship in a dining sphere.
    Take Care,
    Fieldthiste
    #5
    jross10
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/16 14:42:04 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wallhd

    Good service in an eating establishment is much desired but not often achieved.

    If establishments would pay their employess properly, tipping wouldn't be expected or necessary at all.

    Wearing my Nomex today just in case!

    Wally



    Tipping is a way to ensure great service. Restaurants will never pay their servers enough money to not expect tips, unless they raised the pay to at least 12$ an hour for servers, which would never happen. I am sorry that I did not research the field before I posted this. I should have looked around longer for this discussion topic. I was just curious what people that about the service at restaurants. By the way, pardon if I sound ignorant, but what is "Nomex."
    #6
    wallhd
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/16 18:03:35 (permalink)
    Nomex is a material which resists fire. Some firefighting gear is Nomex. Many aviators flight suits are Nomex, to name a couple of exapmles

    Nomex in this context means that the poster (in this case me) expects to get "flamed" for making a statement which might be considered upsetting to someone else.

    Wally
    #7
    enginecapt
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/16 19:40:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by jross10
    I am sorry that I did not research the field before I posted this. I should have looked around longer for this discussion topic.
    Like the man said, you're new, no big deal. We all did something like that when we were new. Well, I didn't, I'm perfect. The rest of them did though.
    #8
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/16 20:42:48 (permalink)
    You know, a fresh discussion never hurts.

    Sometimes the old ones get a little stale, if not a little too long to be of any value.

    I WILL NEVER go back to a place with good service and bad food.

    I WILL tolerate poor service for good food.

    I think tipping is the best deal in the country ... service is the only thing you can pay for what you get -- in the amount you deem appropriate. (The second part is as important as the first. If you don't care to tip fairly, say home.)
    #9
    beachbons
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/16 23:15:35 (permalink)
    My wife & I have worked together & seperately for over 30 years each in the food business. As a result, we love to eat out alot. I'm surprised that most of the responses choose quality food over service. I've always felt that poor service makes good food taste bad & likewise, great service makes mediocre food taste good.
    Greg
    #10
    -Tricky-
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/17 09:48:54 (permalink)
    beach, I completely disagree.

    You could throw my food at me and swear at me, but if the food is good I'll come back. (Note, I may not necessarily tip well if the service is that rude or that bad, but I'll come back for the food.) That's why I eat out, for food that is preferably tasty.

    Give me the best server anywhere, but if she's bringing me mediocre food it's not worth my money. I won't be back. I can do better than mediocre at home, or even with frozen crap at the grocery store.
    #11
    jross10
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/18 16:51:55 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by -Tricky-

    beach, I completely disagree.

    You could throw my food at me and swear at me, but if the food is good I'll come back. (Note, I may not necessarily tip well if the service is that rude or that bad, but I'll come back for the food.) That's why I eat out, for food that is preferably tasty.

    Give me the best server anywhere, but if she's bringing me mediocre food it's not worth my money. I won't be back. I can do better than mediocre at home, or even with frozen crap at the grocery store.


    Every restaurant I have ever worked at has items on the menu that I wouldn't recommend to people. This doesn't always mean that the rest of the menu is bad. Most of the restaurants I have worked at have usually had good consistency with quality food, but there have been some where food is better on days, just as service could be better on some days. For those who said you would go back if the service was great, but food terrible. Go back again, try something new, if it is not to your liking, tell the manager. This is stuff they need to know. If it is a good restaurant, the manager will not charge you for what you didn't like. They will do anything to make you happy, and if the food is bad the second time then don't go back. I just feel that when I manage restaurants, I want to know if any guest is dissatisfied with any part of thier dining experience, whether it be food, service, or a dirty bathroom.
    #12
    -Tricky-
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/18 19:02:42 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by jross10

    For those who said you would go back if the service was great, but food terrible. Go back again, try something new, if it is not to your liking, tell the manager. This is stuff they need to know.


    I'm a former restaurant manager. My husband is a chef. Kitchens don't have "bad days" and put out mediocre. Yes, a steak might go out overcooked. The food might be bland or over-salted. My soup might have been cold. The whipped cream on my dessert overwhipped. That's not what I'm calling mediocre, that's an off night. They get a second chance; if they're convenient maybe even a third.

    When I say mediocre, I mean that the food itself isn't high quality. I got brown lettuce in my salad. The veggies were frozen, not fresh. The burger was a frozen patty, not a handmade patty. If the ingredients in the food are crap, nothing is going to make my food better than crap, not even the best line cook you could hire. If the ingredients are mediocre, the best my meal could be is mediocre. I won't let you buy my meal, I just won't come back. If I ate it, I pay for it. (Of course I comped anything my guests didn't like, I just won't let you do it for me. You shouldn't. If I ate it, I pay for it.) But, if the food isn't up to my standards, I'll spend my money somewhere that it is the next time.

    (I probably should have clarified my personal definition of mediocre, though.)
    #13
    mayor al
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/18 19:25:35 (permalink)

    I tend to get a bit stiff-necked when someone tells me that they "expect" a certain percentage of the tab will be their reward for being willing to take an order and deliver the food to my table. I will always feel that the choice of reward size is mine to make based on my feeling about the quality of service I receive. I don't 'short-change' a server who does a good job...but I also don't give a full tip for poor service. Rude or totally off-base servers should be stiffed and the management notified . They have an obligation to their employer and to the customer to contribute a very important and positive part of the dining experience. My Nomex is in the wash...be gentle !!1
    #14
    jross10
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/19 03:44:51 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen


    I tend to get a bit stiff-necked when someone tells me that they "expect" a certain percentage of the tab will be their reward for being willing to take an order and deliver the food to my table. I will always feel that the choice of reward size is mine to make based on my feeling about the quality of service I receive. I don't 'short-change' a server who does a good job...but I also don't give a full tip for poor service. Rude or totally off-base servers should be stiffed and the management notified . They have an obligation to their employer and to the customer to contribute a very important and positive part of the dining experience. My Nomex is in the wash...be gentle !!1


    That is exactly what I was saying to an extent. The manager should be notified, especially in the case of a rude or totally off-base server. They want to know these things. If your server doesn't have a clue chances are the manager already knows of the servers incompetence, but there is only so much you can do. A manager knows about their strong servers as well as their weak servers. The weak servers are "projects" to a lot of managers. A strong server would have already notified a manager if the customer looks dissatisfied at all because they know it was of no fault of their own. Even if it was their fault, they would know this too and know the situation needed to be remedied by any means possible. This is the difference between good and bad restaurants is manager involvement. As a server, if anything went wrong with a table I would always notify a manager and hope servers do the same to notify me. It is easy for a manager to remedy a situation just by saying they are a manager and they are taking care of the problem personally. This lets the guest know they are important and we appreciate their business. By the way, no need for the nomex, I would never burn someone, just trying to inform the public of the server "perspective." If you ever stiff someone though, please let the manager know about it, so they can relay it to the server as to why you were dissatisfied.
    #15
    Pwingsx
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/20 02:12:44 (permalink)
    Bad food, definitely bye bye.

    Bad service, usually bye bye.

    Good food, bad service, maybe bye bye.

    Good service, bad food, bye bye.

    Sorry, bad service is definitely second choice to bad food.
    #16
    Kaileen
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/20 11:28:40 (permalink)
    If the food is bad, I'll probably give the restaurant another chance: maybe they had a bad day.

    If the service is bad, same thing. Maybe the server/staff are having a bad day.

    Food and service bad? Never again.

    Food and/or service bad the second time? Never again.

    The biggest turnoffs for me: a restaurant that will acknowledge my husband and myself, but will pretend the children don't exist. That is a never again right off the bat. Also, and this has only happened once, and not in a restaurant: where the staff talks to my husband when I'm the one needing service. One electronics chain down here is really bad about that.

    We just went to a barbecue chain for dinner Friday. Although the food was nothing to write home about (husband said his blew chunks), the gentleman who waited on us was very nice, talked to the kids, and was really very entertaining. I would go back just because of that. But, per my husband, I'll probably be going alone...

    There has only been one "one strike, you're out" time. The Golden Arches had just opened about two months before in my hometown. Now, I was a regular, and I always asked for a plain cheeseburger meal. I have allergies to a lot of the condiments and didn't mind waiting for it. Most of the staff knew this, including the manager, who was a good friend.

    I went in one time and asked for my usual. The little girl behind the counter said, "If you want it plain, go over to Wendy's. They;ll fix it any way you want it."

    Wrong answer.

    Me: (very sweetly, at least at the start) "Fine. You know, I think I will do that. But not before I have a word with your manager."

    The manager came out, and we had a small chat. She was fired on the spot. To this day, I will not walk back through the doors of that particular establishment.

    I am a stickler for good Customer Service. Working in a call center myself, I know what good service should be. I expect at least the level of service that I give, nothing less. I am quicker to compliment good service than criticize bad service: however, I am not afraid to do either if I need to.

    Oh, and as for tipping: I always leave at least a 15%. Where we are, that's considered the standard. I have been known to leave more for outstanding service. Since the waitstaff generally just makes $2 an hour, I know tipping makes a big difference. I do wish they could change the laws where waitstaff makes at least minimum wage.
    #17
    enginecapt
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/20 11:42:30 (permalink)
    If the manager did the right thing and fired the girl on the spot, why are you still punishing the place? I smell a difficult customer.
    #18
    MilwFoodlovers
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/20 15:15:17 (permalink)
    My two cents is that your service is a direct result of proper/improper training by the management. Obviously that clerk should not have been placed in any job involving customer contact. She should not have been hired and should have been weeded out long before she upset the person that paid her salary. If you have one Afghanistan restaurant in town and that is your favorite cuisine you may have to put up with medicore service to have your shish-ka-bobs but in this case it was not. Now if you want to forgive that manager, that's your right, but I wish there were more "difficult customers" as we'd all have better dining experiences if we held people that are in the business of satisfying our desires to a high standard. I can make better food at home than many of the restaurants I go to, so I'm there to be served.
    #19
    enginecapt
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/20 15:54:44 (permalink)
    Milw, if you're looking for "better dining experiences" while "satisfying our desires to a high standard" in a corporate fast food joint like the McDonalds that Kaileen was referring to, then I guess this thread just picked up another one of those difficult ones.

    When I enter one of those places, along with my diminished expectations of food quality, I realize that my expectations of customer service are also diminished. It's a high turnover, low paid occupation, and I accept the fact that the occasional idiot might get by the harried manager. If that manager takes care of the problem by firing the employee on the spot, I'm happy and I'll continue my custom. I don't go there to "dine" I go there to eat.

    I realize and accept the following:
    It's fast food. Stuff happens. Life goes on. I get over it. Apparently some others don't.
    #20
    MilwFoodlovers
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/20 16:21:06 (permalink)
    No, I'm one of those; folks who don't often enter the scary (to me) world of the fast food experience. My wife and I dined at a $200 night "5 star" dinner restaurant a few years ago and the waitress, perhaps noticing I wasn't wearing a Rolex, began our meal with an explanation of how the cutlery should be used, i. e. start from the outside and work our way in. She got her 20% gratuity but, of course, never saw us again. Six months later or so the doors closed and many people could not understand how this culinary masterpiece of a joint closed. Hmm; didn't surprise me in the least.
    A friend went to a new "upscale" BBQ, at the walk-up ordering window (I know, I know) when he tried to order a diet soda (pop for you non-Milwaukeeans) for his diabetic brother dining companion was told, "Hey the liquor store a few doors down sells that" (the BBQ has soda and beer on the menu). Neither he, his brother, my wife and myself nor anyone who's heard this story has returned. Are we difficult? Are we as customers supposed to lower our standards depending on size of the bill? No my standards are the same be it at an inexpensive Greek family restaurant (whose owners should really start service training for other restaurant owners as the ones we frequent have always first rate service) or at special occasion choices. My local Popeyes has a well trained staff but that's about the extent of my FF knowledge.
    #21
    enginecapt
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/20 16:24:09 (permalink)
    In that case I see your point. (It's soda here too)
    #22
    berndog
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/20 16:45:57 (permalink)
    Milw, I love your comment about the cutlery lesson at the fancy expensive restaurant. If that happened to me, I think I would have told the waitress "How nice of you to explain how forks and spoons work. I already know that, and I would rather you put your attention into making sure my water glass is never empty tonight." And I would have tipped based on the service (or lack of service) that followed, including a lecture on how to properly treat customers in a fancy, expensive restaurant if the service was poor. After all, one educational experience deserves another. I might even have pushed the point by explaining that I recieve high fee's for lecturing and the waitress should consider this training as part of her tip.

    Of course, I would never be able to return there, as my wife would be too embarrassed to be seen in the place again.

    I had a good reminder Friday evening of what it means to be a regular customer who tips well in a local restaurant. We were running late and there is usually about a 30-40 minute wait for a table by 6:00 on a Friday, so my wife called ahead to see how the wait was and put our name on the list. We were told about 20 minutes. When we got there 20 minutes later, we were seated immediately, ahead of many waiting who probably wondered how these people just walked in and got a table.

    Our waitress was one af about three who regularly wait on us there,and who I always tip at least 20% for excellent service. We had wonderful service all night, usually ahead of, but not to the lack of attention to other diners. I never had to ask for a refill of ice tea. It was always served before my glass was finished. In spite of the place being very crowded which usually results in slow service, we had a wonderful meal.
    #23
    Sandy Eggo
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/11/22 18:02:17 (permalink)
    I had an idea that one should estimate what the meal is going to cost and place the tip on the table in advance. In other words, if you think the meal is going to cost $50, put eight crisp one dollar bills on the table. If service remain good leave them there, if during the course of the meal service is poor, start to pocket the ones.

    I know this is not realistic, but it’s just how I feel sometimes when I’ve encountered bad service.
    #24
    SassyGritsAL
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/12/05 15:55:13 (permalink)
    Reference tipping: My son who was a server for 5 years tells me to double the tax (8% here in Huntsville, AL) on my bill and round it off to the nearest dollar. This is of course if the service was good or better. Since he told me this I do this and then I don't have to tax my brain for a percentage.
    #25
    jross10
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/12/05 16:47:21 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sandy Eggo

    I had an idea that one should estimate what the meal is going to cost and place the tip on the table in advance. In other words, if you think the meal is going to cost $50, put eight crisp one dollar bills on the table. If service remain good leave them there, if during the course of the meal service is poor, start to pocket the ones.

    I know this is not realistic, but it’s just how I feel sometimes when I’ve encountered bad service.



    This of course would be beneficial more to the server than to you. First of all, the server would know in advance if you are a stingy tipper and give you bad service because they would know you only plan on tipping 4 dollars on 40. If this tip should go down, which do you think they will care more about the tip that is non existent or their other tables that actually will be leaving them a tip. As a server I would propose this idea. How about every time you have your server get something extra for you, or cause them another trip to the kitchen you add a dollar. That seems a little more realistic.
    #26
    -Tricky-
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/12/05 21:41:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by jross10

    quote:
    Originally posted by Sandy Eggo

    I had an idea that one should estimate what the meal is going to cost and place the tip on the table in advance. In other words, if you think the meal is going to cost $50, put eight crisp one dollar bills on the table. If service remain good leave them there, if during the course of the meal service is poor, start to pocket the ones.

    I know this is not realistic, but it’s just how I feel sometimes when I’ve encountered bad service.



    This of course would be beneficial more to the server than to you. First of all, the server would know in advance if you are a stingy tipper and give you bad service because they would know you only plan on tipping 4 dollars on 40. If this tip should go down, which do you think they will care more about the tip that is non existent or their other tables that actually will be leaving them a tip. As a server I would propose this idea. How about every time you have your server get something extra for you, or cause them another trip to the kitchen you add a dollar. That seems a little more realistic.


    I know both of you are just kidding, so this entire post is overkill and unneccessary.

    They're both way too dog and pony show for my tastes. Both methods are condescending; to penalize stiffly for individual errors or to reward stingily based on minor "triumphs" is ludicrous. A tip should be based on whether the entire service experience was good or not good, not on each individual step. Tipping is not brain surgery and it doesn't need to be analyzed as if it's a critical essay, either. Guests should be out to enjoy themselves, not ticking off "Yes"es and "No"s about particular steps of service; guests shouldn't be stressed out over their dining experiences!

    Overall:
    If the service was all around okay, nothing spectacular, 15-17%
    If the service was really bad, but polite, 10%
    If the service was fantastic, 20+%

    It would be a stressful world if the guest had to work as hard as these two describe, just to arrive at a tip.
    #27
    trudyn
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/12/06 05:35:11 (permalink)
    Tasty food is the most important quality for me when I eat out. if I eat at a fair to middling place, service(such as filling my coffee cup at breakfast fairly quickly) becomes much more important to me.
    #28
    roossy90
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    RE: Best Service?? 2005/12/07 13:20:15 (permalink)
    But let me add a little something else here...
    Being a server, I have encountered this many many times, and I did mention this on another post.

    For some reason, when people get a bad meal, even if the service was proper and good, they usually stiff the server..
    I mean, "did I cook that meal",
    Uh, No.......
    Then why take it out on me. I did everything within my power to fix the problem, and if I have crappy management or the cook was having an off night, then its not my fault..
    I know its coming, when I get the verbal tip.. Oh honey.. the service was excellent, but the food s---ked..
    Yah.. then I know I am getting stiffed..
    Why do people do that?..In my 18 years in this business, It still amazes me when people do that after having a crappy meal, and great service.
    #29
    CasperImproved
    Hamburger
    • Total Posts : 59
    • Joined: 2005/12/14 20:06:00
    • Location: MI, USA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Best Service?? 2005/12/14 20:34:24 (permalink)
    -Tricky-

    My first post on roadfood after being a silent viewer for a couple of months (love good food, etc, but I'm usually a listener)... but you actually made me register because I 100% in agreement with everything you posted on this thread.

    I have been to restaurants that that the food was good, but service poor, and the the reverse (to include both high-end, and low-end costs).

    If the food was good, but the service poor, I will try again. If the food was fair (or poor), but service good, I will try again. But if the food was bad, and service average or below, will pay for the meal, explain to the manager why I will not return, but pay for the meal anyway (I don't care if the manager wants to comp the meal or not).

    Irrigardless of the food... I will not "stiff" the wait staff and tip kindly (or appropriate for the level of service). But food quality is the highest point of consideration. If the food quality is poor (wilted salid, chewy steak, raw pasta, etc.), I do not blame the wait staff, but I will not return if both were below quality in substance, or quality.

    I realize I expounded abit, but either in combination is what makes you choose to return (or not). My two chain examples are Dred Lobster, and Jets Pizza... both the product, and service were both extremely poor, and while I paid for the meals (and tipped), I will never again return to either as they both were sub-par in both areas. I use the chain example only for the reason that many here can (may) relate. Obviously, the higher end restaurants I have the same opinion/resolution with, are less well known.

    And BTW, I am honest with the mangers that were bold enough to ask "how was your dinner?, to give an honest response.

    I appreatiate a good meal, at decent price, with good wait service... and normally re-vist them as often as appropriate. But a major negative in either piece (food vs. service) can seriously spoil the reason why you were there in the first place...

    Thanks for making me an active poster... :-)

    Casper

    #30
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