Wednesday, April 19, 2006
A commenter on this blog asked how she (and others) might assure themselves good service when frequenting a restaurant. There are some simple and some complex answers that could be given to this question, and I invite the readers of this blog to suggest in the comments some ways beyond my few initial ideas.
1) Develop a relationship. Our commenter eats out regularly. While she likely frequents quite a number of locations, they undoubtedly are repeat guests with some regularity to some establishments. If you get a server you like, leave them a good tip, and then request them the next time you are in. That might mean waiting 10 minutes until they have a table open, but for the right server it's more than worth the wait. In most larger places there are a couple of people who likely would fit this bill on any given night, so you might ask your favorite waiter who they would reccommend if they aren't available or there that night the next time you visit. I'd gladly suggest a couple of my co-workers to my regulars, and have done so previously. I know they'll come back to me the next time most likely, so it's not costing me anything to pass you off to someone else you will be pleased with. Regulars who tip well are always well taken care of. We will take the known for the unknown generally as waiters.
2) Tip up front. Sounds contrary, but it works. If you know roughly what your bill will be, give a significant percentage up front. If your bill is going to be $100, and you know that most likely you will tip more than 15%, give the server the 15% up front. Hand them $15 and say this is for the service you are going to provide us. We'll give you more at the end if you have earned it. There is a bit of risk to this if the server doesn't provide that level of service, but I would bet 95% of the time you'll get GREAT service. Again, the principle of servers choosing what they know over what they don't know. Now the above percentage is scalable according to type of establishment and area you live. There are places where standard tips are more than others. I've eaten at places where I wouldn't think of leaving less than 30%, but I also know that the level of service I will receive will warrent that type of tip. I've had guest walk in and shake my hand and hand me a $20 and just say "take care of us". That is something I can readily understand, it's money in the hand. I have used this method myself, and always gotten great service. I NEVER use it in high end establishments. I have often used it in busy bars, and the bartender always seems to notice when we need more drinks or when I approach the bar.
There are other ways, and I'll let the readers of this blog suggest some more ideas. Should be interesting to see what ideas come from this.
Related Tags: Red Lobster, Seafood, Seafood Restaurant, Restaurant, Service, Food Service, Good Service, Great Service, Bad Service, Tipping, Bartender, Server, Waiter, Waitress, Service Industry, Darden, GMRI