Friday, May 17, 2013

Bad service: Should you just get over it?

Short answer: No
Long Answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 

If you haven't been following the train wreck that is Amy's Baking Company, boy are you missing out. Here's a page that will explain everything - Link. I've been keeping tabs on this since just before the season finale of Kitchen Nightmares aired with anticipation. Now that they've hired a PR firm to put out their fires, the madness has slowed down tremendously. I wonder how long the PR firm is going to stick around, since they have such a good Track record with consultants.

So this is an extreme case of what people do when customers complain. Did the customers have a right to complain? Absolutely. Is the customer always right? No. In this case, this restaurant is a perfect example of how NOT to deal with upset customers.

This will mostly address whether you should complain or not. Most people won't complain if there's an issue, and some who do aren't able to effectively communicate their problem.


If you're thinking about complaining about service, think about the circumstances. In an extremely busy restaurant that also happens to be understaffed, you're not going to get good service. This isn't some evil plot to ignore you, it's just a matter of fact that the staff are overloaded and are doing the best that they can. If you want faster service, survey how busy the place is and get a look to see if the servers are struggling to handle the load. If that's the case, either go somewhere else, or just enjoy the company of who you're with, and plan on staying there for a while. If you do decide to stick it out, by no means should you penalize them tip-wise. YOU'RE the one who decided to add to their load by showing up.

Now if the place isn't jam packed, or there are adequate staff to see to everyone's needs, then you can be more discerning. I've been seated at a table only to be forgotten while you hear the staff in the next room talk about their weekend plans. You need to communicate that it's not okay. How the restaurant responds to that complaint is another story, but you are well within your right to point out an issue. Any manager worth a damn will acknowledge that there's a problem, and work to fix it instead of appeasing you with free food.

If the attitude of the server is an issue, remember: you're paying for this! You don't have to put up with it. You can ask for a different server, or you can go eat somewhere else. If you want to avoid conflict, you can either fill out a customer service card, or don't leave a tip. DO NOT DEMAND FREE FOOD!!!!! This is a personal peeve of mine. Free food fixes nothing, and is just a way to get you to shut up. Fix the problem! don't just cover it up and hope it fixes itself.

To finish this off, let's talk about good service. If you get a server who is attentive, but not overbearing, knowledgeable, helpful, and a pleasure to be around, you should reward them. Good staff work their butts off to make you happy, with some going far beyond their pay grade as well as what the restaurant expects of them. This is America; reward good service. If you can't leave a very big tip, ask for the manager and complement your server to him/her. Fill out the customer service form and refer to your server by name in your compliment. It's not an easy job, and those who are good at it deserve praise and tips.

So remember, don't pay for bad service! But also remember to reward good servers and staff who make your stay more enjoyable.

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