Food for Thought

Restaurant Survival 101

I have been in the restaurant service industry for twenty five years and I have noticed a trend over the last ten years that is worthy of mention. In the last ten years or so I have noticed a shift in the attitude of customers that has become quite alarming. People have started walking into a restaurant and become overly demanding of the establishment, almost as if they were owed something. There is a sense of entitlement that goes with this attitude that I find particularly distasteful. It used to be when people would come into your establishment, they were a guest. They were treated as a guest and acted as a guest. A guest doesn’t walk into your home and make demands and expect you to meet all their demands no matter how trivial. A guest walks into your home and accepts the fact that you will do the best you can to accommodate their needs. There is a level of respect that is agreed upon between you and the guest when they arrive.

I have actually seen people walk into a restaurant and treat it as if it where their living room, shoes off feet up, allowing their children to run around (I’ll touch on that subject a little later). They don’t acknowledge you as a human being let alone as their host and the person who will be responsible for meeting their needs. This coupled with that sense of entitlement I talked about earlier creates a sense of broken trust and resentment. Do these people realize that by their actions they will receive the minimum in hospitality from the staff. And nine times out of ten these are the cheapest people you will meet.

Complaint

  I will let you in on a secret, If you show respect you will receive respect. If there is ever a problem with something in the restaurant and you talk to the manager in a polite tone and demand nothing, you will find that the manager will go out of their way to not only fix the problem, but will go out of their way to make sure the rest of your visit is above your expectations. If you are demanding and short with the manager and wait staff they will do the bare minimum to get you out of the restaurant. I have personally seen restaurant managers avoid a table because the table was acting like a bunch of self important, demanding, rude guests. Remember if you are rude to the server the first thing they do is go in the back and tell the manager and the whole kitchen what an asshole you are. service2

If you are polite and patient the server will come back to your table more frequently. If you have a bad server, It’s OK to talk to the manager if the server is not doing their job well, but, do it with respect, don’t be aggressive, don’t tell the manager how to do their job, and unless you are a professional restaurant manager, Don’t offer your opinion. We don’t care that you were once a waitress or waiter( you probably weren’t that good at it). We don’t care that you are sure the customer is always right (Your Not), and we don’t care that you are going to call and complain about us. I’ll let you in on another secret, We rarely ever get in trouble for complaints to the call center or corporate head quarters, or the owner. They just pass the complaint back to us for an “Action Plan”. That is code for Bull Shit! Most Managers are more than happy to fix whatever they can while you are still inside the restaurant. I have had people call a week later to complain about something that occurred while dining in the restaurant and expect me to do something about it. Really?

images (5)  Now I would like to touch on something that as a parent I find really deplorable. If you feel the need to bring your children with you to a restaurant, realize that unless your children are very well behaved and have manners they are not appreciated for being the “Little Darlings” you believe them to be. We are not your child’s caregiver, Nanny, babysitter,teacher etc. Would you allow your child to yell, scream and run around at your bosses house? Of course not. Why then would you subject everyone around you to your little hellion when these paying customers have just as much right to a positive dinning experience as you do. If you are not adept at teaching your child how to behave, then stay home! If your child has special needs, please let the server know, they will do everything possible to accommodate you.

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There are good and bad restaurants , just as there are good and bad customers. If you experience one of these “Bad Restaurants” you have the option of never going back. The worst thing you can do to a restaurant is never return. Restaurants live and die by the repeat customer, so they want you to return. The average restaurant can only last a few months on new business before word gets out that they are bad. This is why restaurants open and close so frequently. What the industry refers to as Mom and Pop restaurants are a dying breed, which is too bad because some of these restaurants are real treasures. The Chain restaurants are fine if you like that kind of food, but there is no creativity in the kitchen and they don’t attract the best of the culinary world. If you love restaurants like I do, give the independent restaurant a try once in a while. You might be surprised at how good these places can be. The other upside is you are supporting the local economy, these restaurants supply their food locally and for the most part hire locally. There are even restaurants that specialize in the “Farm to Table” mentality so often times local farms and ranchers are used. You get better quality food that is going into your dishes. Another hint, Chain restaurants get there food shipped from a central location that mass produces the products and gets their meat from large factory farms that use mass feeding and slaughtering techniques to keep up with the demand for the restaurants. This practice is bad for the animals, the environment, and the quality of the food you are eating.

Chicken nuggets anyone
Chicken nuggets anyone
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