Customer Service and What it Really Means

That phrase has come to mean so many different things. From how to treat a guest, and or how to service their experience at your bar or restaurant and everything else in-between. 

 The service industry has come under attack from the consumers who frequent their places of business, both verbally and physically. It is not uncommon now to read a scathing review on a waiter or bartender and how they destroyed a guest’s night out. 

 First, before I go into the bones of this article, let me apologize for all the truly bad servers, bartenders and hostesses in this industry. For each one of them, there is an army of dedicated workers who have pledged to make sure your evening is amazing. With that said, we need to move on to the other side of this equation; the guest or patron or whatever you’d like to call them. Generally this is where you would throw in an expletive or array of curse symbols f*&$!. You get the point.

I am basing this on my nearly four decades of service in this industry called the “hospitality industry,” with that said, I want you to know that hospitality is a two-way street. I want you to imagine that I’ve come to your home for dinner and became that guest from hell. I’ve decided no matter what you do, I’m here to wreck your life, at least for the evening.

 We’ll use a bar guest for the rest of this tale. You squeeze up to the bar the second someone gets up to leave, you practically knock them over to get that golden chair. You immediately begin shoving whatever is in front of you towards the edge of the bar, sometimes making a bigger mess than what was there. The bartender sees your calamity and before he or she can open their mouth, you are shouting orders at them. 

 As polite as possible the bartender says give me a moment to clean this up for you. But now you’ve moved on to your phone and have shut us out. We clean your spot and drop a napkin giving you the signal we are ready to take your order. We wait… yet you continue to stare at your phone, so we walk away to help someone else. The moment we are helping another guest, you begin talking over the other guest to ask why we haven’t taken your order. 

 The bartender says nicely I’ll be right with you, but that’s not good enough for you, you bark out your drink order and fortunately the bartender remembers your drink while finishing up with the other patron. This only gets worse from here, you order food and it’s not right. Your drink is weak. You need water with a lemon that you never touch the entire time you’re there, and just because you always have it that way at home. You ask for the wifi password three times. Now, here’s the kicker...you tell me the bill is wrong. 

 I’ll shorten this part because we all know how this ends. You demand the manager do something about this, RIGHT NOW. You’ve now infected the other guests, who up until you arrived, were having a great time. You and your ignorance, bump them and knock the other guest’s drink over. You start shouting and cause a major disturbance. We have to throw you out because you’ve started a fight with a really good person who comes in all the time. We request you pay your bill before we call the police. You pay and to no one’s surprise you don’t tip. So, you write a review, and now I’m in the office explaining to the general manager what happened. This is happening at every restaurant and bar in America. You, my friend, have lost your ability to be hospitable. 

 We in the Hospitality Industry are calling you out. Every single one of you. We who care about our livelihoods want you to know... it is time to stop! You need to remember we are humble humans who are busting our butts so we too can pay our mortgage and put food on the table for our families. So, I implore you to please wake up and smell the coffee. We are not going to take your crap anymore. 

 These last two years have been very hard on our ranks, and it’s hard to get new recruits. So, unless you want us to all be replaced by uncaring robots, it’s time to be the good customer we all deserve and you’ll get great customer service.