Getting Better Service

I wrote a story for the Frederick News-Post that ran today on the subject of getting better service in restaurants.

You can read the column here.

I got the following email in response to the story, which I am reprinting here verbatim with permission:

I enjoy your columns, but have to disagree with this one. It is always a two-way street in any business relationship, however, the restaurant business is a service industry. I feel that you should get the same service when they are busy as when they are slow. It is up to management to be staffed appropriately.

Your article seems to say that it is up to the customer to see that we are treated well, but except in the case of a rude or disorderly customer I believe that is the restaurant’s responsibility.

Mary Cannette

Mary has some good points here. I earn part of my income by catering, and I’m well aware that restaurants, like caterers, are a service-based business. I expect to be restored when I visit a restaurant. If it’s a place with table service, I want to have my needs anticipated and to feel like my satisfaction is important to the establishment–I don’t just want a plate of food. (And the more I spend on dinner, the higher my expectations are in this regard.)

That being said, I don’t eat out when I know restaurants are strained. That includes holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day and most Saturday nights between 7 and 9pm. I’d rather eat out on a Tuesday evening in early March, like I did last night with some friends. Sure, sometimes it’s easiest to go out on a weekend, but I know I’m unlikely to see a restaurant in its best light at that time.

Thanks, Mary, for your message. It’s always nice to hear a different perspective on these matters, and I love hearing from readers.

I do plan to publish a counterpoint column in a few weeks. What do you think should go in there?


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