Saturday, January 08, 2011

Good food service is not a dish best served cold

It happens all too often...

I really dislike restaurants that use a server to bring you your food instead of the waiter/waitress who took your order. More often than not, the server takes your meal on a tour of the entire restaurant before finally finding your table, but not until after several other people have breathed on it and it is no longer at the desired serving temperature. The manager obligingly apologizes, offers a new meal - to be similarly delivered - or maybe even comp the meal, but the manager completely misses the point.

If the restaurant wants my repeat business, I am not interested in a quick fix or do-over. I do not want a 3rd party delivering my meal. I have established no rapport with that individual; whereas, the wait person who took my order knows where I am seated, and more importantly, has a sense of personal ownership to get my order right.

I assume the intent of the server position is to rush the meal to the guest's table. So when that does not happen I do not want to hear excuses or insincere, almost mechanical, apologies. I want to see evidence of customer focus and continuous improvement. Where is the root cause investigation? Why didn't the server take the few seconds to know my table number before leaving the kitchen?

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