This weekend my wife and I went to two new places to eat looking for something fresh and new.  We ended up going ethnic to satisfy our adventuresome appetite.  We tried a new Thai place near where we live and also a Peruvian place.   In both cases the food was excellent.  We loved the new flavors and textures of the dishes that were recommended to us.  We for sure got what we were looking for in terms of new and different.  However, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth because of the poor service level in each place. 

I will spare you the details but let’s just say that giving me a little more rice without charging me extra would have been a great way to make me feel valued as a customer.  $1.35 for an extra little container of white rice?  Seriously?  And you can only receive that from me in cash?  That is going to leave me with change in my pocket which I hate so I end up giving you the extra as a tip when I really would rather not?  I was bothered.  I am picky but so are most folks who eat out a lot.  We notice the little things like this.  Why does that matter to you as a restaurant owner?  Because I am the guy who is going to keep coming back for more and more.  Just comp the little scoop of rice next time.  Make me feel like you value me and you know me. 

The Peruvian place was a different problem.  I like to eat and dine and chat and get up and leave on my own schedule.  Not yours.  That means that I like my water topped off constantly and the check offered to me when my silverware is placed across my plate.  Stay one step ahead of me and then never rush me out.  We waited and waited and waited and felt neglected many times.  I also felt like the servers were waiting for me to ask them for the check and wait for me to ask for more water.  It’s a training thing. 

Service is so important.  A restaurant should never forget that they are in the service business more than the food business.  This should drive their focus and training efforts.  FOH staff are marketers (not salesmen).  They should be showing the best that your place has to offer. 

Morgan Harris – Co-Founder, Restaurant365.net