Sunday, April 27, 2008

Marketing Musings: Don't Be a Wooden Waiter

Note to servers all over America. Leave me alone.

Back when tipping was actually optional hospitality staff had to work as hard as possible to maximize their income. The problem today is that tips are expected and let’s face it, most people tip almost 20% regardless of how the service actually was.

So you are going to get the 20%, all you have to do is be nice. Stay out of the way, don’t interrupt every 8 minutes – we really are OK and if the food does happen to suck, we’ll let you know. Be there when we are looking around, and make it personal. Check on our meals for sure and remember who ordered what.

While I am whining, what ever happened to leaving plates on the table until everyone has finished eating? I’ve been at more than a few places where I am the only one still eating and my friends are being offered a dessert menu.

Truth is I don’t blame you I blame the person who owns the restaurant. They should be focusing on the customer experience and stopping you (called training!) from asking canned questions that no diner every seriously answers. You know them -“are we doing OK here?” … “Sure, thanks (go away, I just lost my train of thought because of you) – sound familiar?

Starting today, throw out the very notion of what you think it means to serve and be attentive. The owner might even notice; even if she doesn’t, someone will, and you’ll be soon on your way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

true that! i feel the same way about obligatory tipping even to unworthy servers.

there's one particular place i refuse to go back to because they use shame psychology--the staff in this particular place rings a bell & yelps "WooHoo!" to customers who tip. but for the customers who don't tip, the staff remain deadly silent; they don't even mutter a "thanks, man" after you've paid for your One Slice of take-out pizza. (it's a slice of take-out pizza, for crying out loud!!!) you feel ashamed because everyone in the store becomes keenly aware that you did not tip, and they throw you evil glaces. it makes you feel like the sh**iest person on the planet.

so yes, i hear you. i whined then, too.