It’s a complicated dance….
‘Just write something restauranty, Giles.’ is my brief. Right. ‘Restauranty’ you say… Now, you see I have a dilemma here. If I write something too contrite that ultimately sings the praises of the restaurant I run, you, the discerning and clever reader will see right through that. I could wax lyrical about the ideals of service, quality products, ambience and atmosphere (all of which I’m compelled to state, we have in spades here, of course) but that would, however true, ultimately seem a little transparent. So I’m going to turn this on it’s head and, perhaps controversially, talk about you the customer, instead. Yes you, the one and only thing we are here to consider, the singularly most important factor of this and arguably any industry. We are here but to serve, but you (not you, others, naturally) don’t half make it tricky sometimes. Don’t underestimate the power you have to genuinely ruin someone’s night.
So what makes a good customer? Or rather (and certainly this is a more amusing subject) what make a BAD one? Yes, I’m going down this route but bear with me as I’m sure you all are ideal customers, so let this be a list of things you can check yourself off against by way of making yourself feel glad you’re not on it.
1 – The finger clickers.
Really? Would you answer to that? Stop it right now. We’re not servants, nor are we dogs. This also goes for the ‘Oi!’ shouters.
2 – The ungrateful ones.
I’m sure you were brought up to say please and thank you, hello and goodbye. So why not here? Particularly as I’ve just said hello or goodbye to you. Don’t ignore me, that’s just rude. Courtesy costs nothing and all that.
3 – The forgetful ones.
You can’t remember what you ordered but we’re the idiots who brought you the wrong thing. You said it, we wrote it down. I think the person with the written documentation of the conversation is probably the one who is right.
4 – The party size changers.
You’ve booked for 4 people, we’re a fully booked restaurant on a Friday night with a carefully managed table plan for the evening. No, it is not ok if your 5 friends join you without notice. And stop looking at me like I just ran over your cat because I said no and don’t you DARE grab those ‘free’ chairs from that other table!
5 – The ‘imaginary allergy’ punters.
Customer: “I can’t have any gluten.” Server: “Are you a coeliac, madam?” Customer: “No, I just can’t eat gluten.” Server: “Well that dish you’ve ordered may have a tiny amount of gluten in it.” Customer: “Oh that’ll be fine. I’ll take it.”
So you’ve made it up, probably because it just gives you a bit of wind.
See? You weren’t on that list were you? Perfect. So you are most welcome at any time, you wonderful person you. Of course the list is not finite and honestly describes not even 1% of the many, many people we meet every day. It would be rather masochistic if there were any higher a proportion. A bit like being a traffic warden I suppose.
Essentially this is a complicated dance, with many different steps. And like any other dance, it only works out when both parties are invested in pulling it off with the hope of scoring at the end of the night.
Next week – ‘Bar and Restaurant Wankers’ send your pet hates of service staff behaviour to: Giles.firstname.lastname@example.org