11 Oct Does Restaurant Service Really Matter?
Fair warning – this is a whinge!
Sitting in a 6 month old restaurant last week in trendy Surry Hills (Sydney), I had to wonder “does service really matter”? Does no one else see what I see, or do they just care less? The restaurant was very cute and stylish, the food more-ish and abundant, but the service just “non existent”. The ‘off in the ozone’ attitude of the non-smiling service staff completely captivated my attention during the meal. All I could think was “how do they stay in business”?
It took 45 minutes for the mains to come after we were done our entrees. We had to ask to have the entrée plates and cutlery cleared after sitting with empty plates for 15 minutes. They eventually cleared these, but by the time the mains came there was still no cutlery or plates to eat with (we were sharing everything – which is the style of the restaurant). I literally had to get up from my table and go to the open kitchen window and tell the chef that the food looked lovely and smelled good but without cutlery and plates it was going to be hard to eat it.
The service staff didn’t seem phased at all. Then I started thinking maybe Sydneysiders have just gotten so used to bad service that they just don’t care anymore. This seems to be the norm. I cringed, as after owning 7 restaurants all I could think was it’s called ‘hospitality’ for a reason. Aren’t the service staff there to be hospitable, to serve you and interact with you telling you about their great food and lovely wines, bringing some joy into your life after a busy day. Increasingly it seems the answer is “no”. Certainly in this particular instance they couldn’t have cared less.
So my question is: do you care about service or is it just something that is old school? This restaurant, like many other trendy hot spots was as busy as they could be – they had 2 people working the door! But, why do we keep going? As long as you eventually get the meal and it’s good, are you happy? For me, service either makes or breaks my night out. The food can be amazing, but with no service then it’s just another night of the same old thing – forking out hard earned dollars (in this case $85 per person) for mediocrity.
What do you think? Should I just give up caring?