Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Service the Right Way

A few years ago my wife and I went to eat at the Huckleberry Restaurant at Thanksgiving Point (I believe it is called Harvest now). We were told it would be a 1/2 hour wait. We waited and waited and waited. They kept promising that they would get us in.

It turns out that we got there at about the wrong time. No one who was currently in the restaurant was leaving. And so we had to wait. The management was extremely apologetic (not really their fault) and brought us something to drink (on the house). Then when it appeared they would finally have a table for us, they arranged for free appetizers to be ready for us on the table when we sat down. I don't remember exactly how long we waited, but it was probably an hour and a half. In the end, they felt so bad, they gave us our entire meal, including beverages, appetizer, main course, and dessert, free.

Huckleberry's didn't really have to do that. They had no control over when people left. But they understood what it meant provide good service. And it probably only cost them $50.

I left a pretty good size tip.


daltongirl said...

We went out to eat the other day and had the best customer service I've experienced in a very, VERY long time. We were seated promptly, by courteous hosts, our drinks were brought immediately, and we were able to order as soon as we were ready. The food was brought in a timely manner--meaning not so fast that you had to assume it had been sitting under a heat lamp waiting for someone to order it, but not so slow that you were wondering if the cook had to slaughter the animal and drain the blood before starting to cook it.

The server was courteous, attentive, and did not attempt to sit at our table and refer to us as "guys." She made sure we had everything we needed, and checked back with us a number of times--but not so many that it became annoying. She refilled our water when it was low. She spoke to us respectfully and did not try to interrupt us or be our buddy.

We sat there in wonderment at this treatment. We have gone to some fairly expensive (for us) restaurants in the last few years, and have never been treated this well by anyone on a Friday night. Apparently when some restaurants get real busy, the servers aren't obligated to care about you, even if you are paying $20 a plate.

The clincher? We ate at Village Inn. The food was tolerable--only because we were starving and had no other options, but we couldn't get over the great service. We left a very large tip. Charlotte deserved it. My only question was why she's still working there and not at La Caille.

007 said...

I often directly tie my tip to the level of water in my water glass. For some reason that I have never figured out, I drink a lot more water during a meal in a resturaunt than I do at home (more salt in the food at the resturaunt?). So I need my water filled up frequently. It shows a lack of attention to a basic need if I have difficulty getting my water glass filled.

I can forgive not getting me the ketchup for the french fries, or the steak sauce for the steak right away. But I HAVE to have water. Keep it filled and you earn a nice tip. Make me struggle to get water and I start deducting from the tip. Leave me a pitcher of water and you earn extra.