Hospitality rant - light hearted dig at complaining customers
After heading out for breakfast, lunch or dinner people have the opportunity to review their experience. There are comment cards to fill out, we can speak to the staff or management directly or even out there in the world-wide web our feelings and opinions, good or bad, can be shared. How many of us though, working in the industry, wish there was some way of repaying the favour to our opinionated guests?
Instead of having words spat at us and smiling, apologising, doing our best to tame the beast in-front of us, wouldn't it be good if we could reciprocate. If we could step outside for ten minutes, sit this person down and tell them of weird and wonderful things in the world like manners, how to speak to other human beings and how this is the first time you have seen said person all night; but you can speculate that their drink will be in the bar and their meal in the kitchen being prepared so they may cease asking repeatedly.
A follow up to this fantasy could include a life lesson, helping this person to see that there are other people not only in the world with needs, but in this restaurant with needs, similar to theirs and that they are now not being met thanks to his temper tantrum. Ah, imagination!
Some fun options could be to hand out 'Handy Hint's' cards as people walk through the door. There could be a list of 'Frequently Asked Questions' and the answers provided to simplify the process. Such as 'Yes there is bacon in the BLT sandwich, also included is Lettuce and Tomato, please refer to menu in front of you' 'Yes we have many kids meals, please refer to the Kid's Menu in front of you' 'The best dish is the one with the $ and the highest numbers after it, this rule applies more definitely with the wine list, please refer to menu in front of you' and finally, 'yes, we do have water'.
Other less obvious facts that could be added to help our guests experience regard time management. If you only have half an hour to order, eat, pay and leave DO NOT under any circumstances order your steak well done. If you happen to disobey this rule, please refrain yourself from then asking staff after ten, fifteen, sixteen or even seventeen minutes 'Where is my food?' I will tell you now, it is in the kitchen, being ruined to your specified liking; next time order salad. Also note, when told 'I will just go and ask the kitchen for you', nine times out of ten, we don't, we do a lap of the restaurant and come back with a straight face to tell you your well done steak, has not magically been prepared in the last five minutes.
For those of you who haven't seen the movie 'Waiting', you may wish to give it a watch and remember the line that you shouldn't piss off the people who handle your food. There is a good reason that after you have been rude to staff they come back at you with more kindness than you can calculate. That smile isn't always one of true apology and wanting to make your experience a better one, don't think you have 'made your point' or 'won' this round. Sometimes it's because lack of manners and stupid questions can have repercussions that you may never be aware of. I do hope you enjoy your meal, and on behalf of all hospitality staff, I thank you for your feedback.