Author Topic: proactive in the restaurant  (Read 3963 times)

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TootsNYC

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proactive in the restaurant
« on: April 27, 2013, 01:29:44 AM »
DH and I went out to eat.

Normally I hate eating at restaurants--I feel trapped at my table and unable to get what I need. If you drop a fork, you have to stop eating until you can figure out where your waiter is, and you can't focus on your meal because you have to keep watching so you don't miss that slim opportunity to get her/his attention.
   If you're thirsty, you have to wait for your waiter to happen by again.

Tonight we realized that the waitress forgot to bring his beer. Since I was the one facing the room, I was going to have to watch for the waitress (whom I couldn't see anywhere in the room) and get her attention.

I thought about sitting there w/ my arm raised, like in a classroom. But that was awkward and stupid looking.

So I got up and went to the wait-station/cashier spot in the middle of the room and approached another waitress entirely.

"Excuse me, our waitress is off doing some other part of her job, and we've realized she forgot my husband's beer. Would you help us get that drink?"

She asked what it was he'd ordered, and I said, "I know she wrote it on her slip, but I don't remember what it was he said. I'm sure she knows, when you find he, she'll tell you."

And I went back to my seat. In a little bit, here came our waitress w/ his beer.

Win!

I've decided, that's how I'm going to act in the future. If I'm out of water, or want a refill, or I drop my fork, if I can't see my waiter immediately, I'm going to get up and go get any waiter I see and say, "We need some help, and our waiter is busy somewhere. Would you be sure we get what we need?"

That waiter can figure out whether the best thing to do is to hand me a fork themselves or to find *my* waiter wherever it is her/his job has taken her/him, to have her/him handle it. I don't care which, and I'm willing to wait a short bit for them to figure it out.

But never again will I sit there trying to both enjoy my dinner AND scan the room for my waiter.

Oh, and we tipped 20%. She did enough other things well, so we didn't hold this against her.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 05:53:24 PM by TootsNYC »

perpetua

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 02:41:08 AM »
I think this is a great way to handle it.

There seems to be a big discrepancy in that on the one hand, I hear that America has an 'ask' culture. On the other, I frequently read that patrons will sit there desperately trying to catch the eye of a waiter by doing nothing, then complaining when they don't get served the way they like. Waiters aren't mindreaders nor can they be in two places at once, so I think this is a perfect way to handle it.

Raintree

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2013, 02:44:04 AM »
Sounds OK to me, re: the forgotten beer. But I find most of the time, the servers are attentive enough that I don't have to spend my whole dinner scanning for a server.

As for the forks, if you take one from an empty neighbouring table, please let someone know the next time they come to you. I was a bus girl in my teens, in charge of setting tables and I used to get yelled at by management, for being careless when there was a missing fork on a table. I knew it was usually a patron at another table who had taken it, and I didn't blame them, but I sure got sick of management assuming it was because I was sloppy, forgetful and careless.

Raintree

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2013, 02:49:29 AM »
On the other hand, during my limited time working in restaurants, sometimes I had to walk through a section that had nothing to do with me, to get a dessert out of the fridge, or something. When I say nothing to do with me, it was a completely separate section with a lighter menu, and I would have got in trouble if I'd left my own section and started helping in the other one. Customers would frequently stop me and ask for things, and I couldn't go get them as I had people in my own section to deal with urgently. Even if all I did was tell the waitress in that section, "Oh, that customer over there says you forgot his beer" I'd likely have been snapped at: "I'll be there in a minute!!"

Roe

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2013, 07:44:38 AM »
This was the way I always handled it but my DH made me stop, claiming that it was "rude" to ask someone other thann our own waitress. 

Luckily, the restaurants we patron nowadays are pretty great about being attentive so it hasn't been an issue in a long time.  If it were, I'd probably go back to my "rude" ways.  ;) 


TootsNYC

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2013, 02:32:06 PM »
On the other hand, during my limited time working in restaurants, sometimes I had to walk through a section that had nothing to do with me, to get a dessert out of the fridge, or something. When I say nothing to do with me, it was a completely separate section with a lighter menu, and I would have got in trouble if I'd left my own section and started helping in the other one. Customers would frequently stop me and ask for things, and I couldn't go get them as I had people in my own section to deal with urgently. Even if all I did was tell the waitress in that section, "Oh, that customer over there says you forgot his beer" I'd likely have been snapped at: "I'll be there in a minute!!"

As the customer, I wouldn't care about whether you got snapped at. Your problem.

My only concern would be getting the process started for getting me my forgotten beer. How the restaurant's staff handles it is their territory, not mine. I wouldn't presume to tell them how to deal with it. And your snappy coworker is a  restaurant management problem. I'm not going to sit there scanning constantly to see if my waiter has gotten back from whatever work errand took them  so I can raise my hand far enough for them to notice me during the 10 seconds that they happen to be looking in my direction.

They're busy, I understand. I just want to delegate the responsibility to seek out my waiter to someone who might actually know where she is.


NyaChan

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2013, 02:34:20 PM »
On the other hand, during my limited time working in restaurants, sometimes I had to walk through a section that had nothing to do with me, to get a dessert out of the fridge, or something. When I say nothing to do with me, it was a completely separate section with a lighter menu, and I would have got in trouble if I'd left my own section and started helping in the other one. Customers would frequently stop me and ask for things, and I couldn't go get them as I had people in my own section to deal with urgently. Even if all I did was tell the waitress in that section, "Oh, that customer over there says you forgot his beer" I'd likely have been snapped at: "I'll be there in a minute!!"

As the customer, I wouldn't care about whether you got snapped at. Your problem.

My only concern would be getting the process started for getting me my forgotten beer. How the restaurant's staff handles it is their territory, not mine. I wouldn't presume to tell them how to deal with it. And your snappy coworker is a  restaurant management problem. I'm not going to sit there scanning constantly to see if my waiter has gotten back from whatever work errand took them  so I can raise my hand far enough for them to notice me during the 10 seconds that they happen to be looking in my direction.

They're busy, I understand. I just want to delegate the responsibility to seek out my waiter to someone who might actually know where she is.

I've tried it before and the waitress just snapped at me instead "You need to ask your own waiter!"  But then that restaurant has service issues in general...

TootsNYC

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2013, 02:38:11 PM »

I've tried it before and the waitress just snapped at me instead "You need to ask your own waiter!"  But then that restaurant has service issues in general...

Ooh, I'm ready for that one.
 
"Would you find her for me, then? I'd like to concentrate on my dinner."

In my case, I looked for her but she wasn't in the room. If she had been, I'd have directly approached her.

And yeah, "service issues in general" is right! I've asked not-my-waiters to help me find my waiters. I've never had one of them snap at me! Ye gods.

camlan

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2013, 03:14:28 PM »
This is actually what Miss Manners suggests that diners who are stranded without their wait person in sight do. Find the nearest wait staff and politely ask them to find their own waiter/waitress.

I've spent 15 minutes waiting for the check, sometimes, after we are completely finished with the meal and wanting to leave. Or there's something wrong with the food and it needs to be replaced--if you have to wait 10 or 15 minutes to speak to the wait person, either the other diners are waiting and will have cold food, or they start to eat and are nearly finished by the time the correct food is brought to the table.

I just signal the nearest person and ask them to send our wait person to the table. Never had any response other than something like, "Oh, yes, right away! No problem!" and our wait person usually shows up pretty quickly.

It's a customer service issue. While each member of the wait staff has their own tables, they are all together in presenting good customer service to all the diners.It's all part of the whole picture the restaurant presents to the public.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Raintree

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2013, 03:29:32 PM »
I'm inclined to agree it's perfectly fine to ask someone to find your server for you.

I'd say if I had to spend half my meal scanning for a server to come and fix a problem, to the point where I couldn't just focus on my meal, there's a service problem in that restaurant and I probably wouldn't go there again. Occasionally having to scan and flag someone down is OK (sometimes they do forget things, and preferably I'm not waiting ages and ages for someone to appear to remind them) but if I had to spend the entire meal on server alert, waiting to ask for something, there is a problem with the service.

Usually I don't find it so hard to focus on my meal, because the server comes around and checks on things!

TootsNYC

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2013, 03:31:41 PM »
But I don't want to have to wait even 2 seconds for them to come around and ask if everything's OK. I'm happy to wait while they go GET me a new fork, or my beer. But I want the fix started ASAP.

So, when I feel like that, I'm going to get up and find somebody, instead of sitting there a fuming.

They're busy; they've got a lot of tables. If I want things faster, I've decided that it's on me. And that I can make it happen.

(I can also control how I ask, which last night was friendly, not impatient, request-y. And I control how I act when they do show up with my beer, which was friendly, not impatient, thank-y.)

« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 03:38:30 PM by TootsNYC »

Raintree

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2013, 04:41:02 PM »
Yeah, I hear ya. When you've dropped your fork, or you really wanted that beer to wash down your meal, which is in front of you and going cold the longer you wait, well, you don't want to wait. Sounds perfectly fine what you are doing.

SiotehCat

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2013, 04:55:51 PM »
I am not going to get up and find anyone, but I won't sit there fuming either.

I go to a restaurant to have an enjoyable experience. Getting up from my table, away from my Dh(or whoever I went with), to look for a server is not enjoyable.

We always order a glass of water with whatever other drink we wanted. So, if I finish my Diet Coke, I can sip my water until my waiter brings me another soda. Dh and I leave a very large tip for any waiter that brings another drink before we have finished our first. DH can drink a lot when we are out, so he thinks that is just the greatest.

Also, the server is suppose to be taking care of me and my companions. If I wanted to get up and get something, I would eat at a self service place.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2013, 05:15:15 PM »
I said this in the other thread and I'll say it again: I prefer our model of service where you can just flag down anybody for anything. Then there's no excuse.

And DH and I have approached the register to get our bill if its a long time coming.

TootsNYC

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Re: proactive in the restaurant
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2013, 05:52:51 PM »

I go to a restaurant to have an enjoyable experience. Getting up from my table, away from my Dh(or whoever I went with), to look for a server is not enjoyable.

What I discovered last night, and it was a bit of a revelation, is that my night was WAY more enjoyable because I didn't have to spend 2 or 3 minutes scanning the restaurant to try to find a waiter whose eye I could catch to signal them to let them know I needed them.

I was up and back in probably 90 seconds. And then I could mentally move on.

(it's less that I sit there fuming, and more that I sit there with only half, or even a quarter of my attention on my dining companions and my food, and the other half watching out for someone to help me.)

Like I said, it's mostly my issue. It's why I hate eating out--that concept of being dependent on someone else to fix any issue that arises, and not having their immediate assistance. So, since it's my issue, I'm going to own it, and I'm going to go get the help I want.