One of my mentors told me a long time ago, and I’m paraphrasing, that people will eat mediocre food with great service, but will, somehow, not enjoy great food with mediocre service. I know she was exagerating, but it makes sense.
For me, I can’t stand haphazard service and will walk out if the slightest effort isn’t being made. I say that with a high tolerance for waiting and a higher level of understanding the restaurant business. So, it’s not hard to win me over with a little effort. On the other hand, I also detest stuffy, arrogant service that makes me want to “prove” how much I actually know about food and wine to everyone in the place. My comfort level and admiration for service falls in the effortless and hardly noticable.
On a recent visit to a local steakhouse for Valentines Day (which was celebrated the 15th as my girlfriend and I are both in hospitality), I had the pleasure of seeing a professional in motion.
When we were seated, our server was, apparently, very busy. He stopped over briefly and pointed out the wine list and asked us to take a look and he would return to answer any questions. A server assistant brough us water in the interim. The most important aspect of this technique is that he, in fact, did return in a timely manner. We ordered three courses at once, so I was curious to see how our good server would space our meal. He left us about 5 minutes between appetizer and imtermzzo and a little longer before the entree course. Bravo! Beautifully executed! He never copped out and never made an excuse, he simply made the service happen even though he was busy.
When you find that place that gives you stellar service, you will return even if the food isn’t the best. If more restaurants would understand this simple and honest fact, maybe more would stick around for a longer run in the business.
PS: bad food and good service doesn’t work! I’ve tried it.