Friday, 22 November 2013

Service?

We went out for dinner this evening, to a place which I will not identify. There's nothing wrong with the place itself, but some of the people who work there do not seem to understand the idea of a service industry.

We were taken to a table, given menus and then left alone. That gave me time to observe the servers. They seemed to congregate at the end of the bar near the cash register. And then each one got their phone out. There are penalties for distracted driving. Maybe there should be a penalty for distracted serving? They were reading or texting. In fact I wondered if the regulars knew the cell phone number of their server and could put in their orders that way.

We did get served, eventually. In fact once we had placed the food order, it actually arrived surprisingly quickly. Perhaps because someone other than our designated server brought it. Why is it that only when your mouth is full does someone stop at your table and ask "How is everything tasting?" And not our server of course. The person who usually tells you their name and says, with absolute sincerity, "I will be looking after you this evening" and then vanishes.

I have sometimes had the feeling that the presence of actual customers gets in the way of the social life of the people who work at bars and restaurants. But if it was not for the paying customers, there would be no pay - or tips. Yet they expect ever more generous tips for what seems to be increasingly slipshod service. Is it too much to ask for someone to pay attention to the needs of the people who come to your establishment to eat and drink?