(POSTED: March 9, 2007)
How to Get The Most From Your Dining Experience
KNOWLEDGEABLE: When I enter a restaurant, I look for a server who’s knowledgeable, whether it’s about what kind of oil the fish is fried in to definition so more exotic ingredients; if you don’t know the answer but find out right away, that works too.
APPRECIATIVE: I look for a server who seems happy to take care of me, to make my dining experience special, who is happy to see you chose to eat there. In exchange, I tip my appreciation.
OWNERSHIP: I look for service staff that takes ownership of the table, and any problems that may come up during the meal. Guest recovery is everything; I’m more impressed by the ability of a server to solve a problem than I am disturbed by the problem.
SINCERITY: If a server not happy to be there, it shows. When they ask how everything is, I don’t expect the server to blow by expecting me to just mumble fine; I expect them to stop, look me in the eye and ask as though they really care.
I certainly don’t expect the same type of service everywhere; service styles should be adjusted according to the environment. When I stop for a clubhouse and fries at Jim’s, it’s perfectly okay for my waitress to say “How’s your lunch, honey?” Similarly, Tim Horton’s staff tends to be familiar, with plenty of “dears”, “sweeties” and other assorted names. If I’m at a fine dining restaurant, I expect a more formal approach “How is everything ma’am” (But please, very few servers can pull off the royal “we” without sounding either pompous or condescending. “How is our dinner this evening” always prompts me to respond “Ours is fine, I can’t speak for yours”.)
But while service styles may differ, the traits of good service (KAOS) should remain the same. These things are universal, no matter what kind of establishment you’re in.