Boy, when industry-types get dissatisfied with service, they get really dissatisfied. The tendency stays with yours truly to this day, even though we haven’t waited tables for about six years. We know a lot of unaccounted-for factors can screw up a wait-shift, and we’re understanding, but if the server does something offensive or blatantly inefficient, we pass harsh judgment.
So, in fact, does everybody in the “biz.” Witness this post from Jalapeno Girl, who is totally steamed that the host at “a popular sit-down Mexican restaurant” wouldn’t stop walking around with an important look on his face long enough to take her party’s picture. Seriously, host, that’s a no-no. It’s your job to make customers happy and you’re totally failing.
And these are just two examples from industry-types who happen to have blogs. Think about all the thousands that don’t. Why, they just tell their friends what a rotten experience they had. And their friends listen, because they’re industry-types and they know.
If we hadn’t had the experience ourselves, our question would be, why are food-service professionals as accommodating as they are? Isn’t it just the most frustrating when you see somebody blowing it at a job you know (or think) you’re good at?
The answer is: Solidarity. We’ve all been there. Everybody has bad shifts. Sometimes the kitchen gets slammed and screws things up for you. Sometimes a waiter doesn’t put a ticket in, then whines about how you didn’t make his appetizers soon enough. We know how to be good customers because we’ve had the worst ourselves. It’s also because we know the job so well that, when patience runs out, it runs out hard.
But on-duty servers/cooks/hosts, take warning: Even if it’s the worst shift in the world, you go out back, you do a shot, smoke a cigarette and punch a wall. And when you come back into that dining room, you smile and act like the problem is one small glitch in an otherwise wonderful day at work. Because one of your customers will almost certainly be an off-duty service-industry type, and if you are a jerk, they’ll judge you more harshly than a hundred Frank Brunis. Guaranteed.
Hey, they might even blog about it.