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General Chat Thread, Service at restaurants of late in General; Went to loch fyne with OH and her parents. We had 4 different waitresses over he course of he meal, ...
  1. #16
    rad
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    Went to loch fyne with OH and her parents. We had 4 different waitresses over he course of he meal, one went on a break just after we ordered dessert, when we came to paying it was cheaper than we bought so paid and left. They forgot o add the puds onto our bill. Serves them right!

    I do hate the "is everything ok for you" by the waiter serving you, then the saw again by a colleague... Drives me nuts!

  2. #17


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    Quote Originally Posted by rich_tech View Post
    I don't know what they expect you to do after you have your plate taken away and refused any desserts or coffees, sit there and enjoy the ambience perhaps ?
    If you like!

    It's bad etiquette to deliver a bill without a customer asking for it. It's like saying "leave us, now!". Front of House also can't guess who (of a group (>1)) should be presented with the bill. Giving it to the wrong person can lead to trouble (Mr doesn't want Miss to see it etc). I don't think I've ever just been presented with a bill without asking for it, nor would I expect to. It's probably one of the first phrases I learn in a new language - "Can I have bill please".

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    Quote Originally Posted by rad View Post
    I do hate the "is everything ok for you" by the waiter serving you, then the saw again by a colleague... Drives me nuts!
    And usually asked whilst you have a mouthful of food!

  4. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    If you like!

    It's bad etiquette to deliver a bill without a customer asking for it. It's like saying "leave us, now!". Front of House also can't guess who (of a group (>1)) should be presented with the bill. Giving it to the wrong person can lead to trouble (Mr doesn't want Miss to see it etc). I don't think I've ever just been presented with a bill without asking for it, nor would I expect to. It's probably one of the first phrases I learn in a new language - "Can I have bill please".
    that is true, but what the waiting staff need to do is to keep a better eye on their tables and notice when everyone has finished - wait a little bit and then go and clear the table. At this point they ask if they can get anything else for you, leading on nicely to a request for pudding, the bill or whatever.
    The best service I have had of late, in two different establishments, has been Wetherspoons

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    If you like!

    It's bad etiquette to deliver a bill without a customer asking for it. It's like saying "leave us, now!". Front of House also can't guess who (of a group (>1)) should be presented with the bill. Giving it to the wrong person can lead to trouble (Mr doesn't want Miss to see it etc). I don't think I've ever just been presented with a bill without asking for it, nor would I expect to. It's probably one of the first phrases I learn in a new language - "Can I have bill please".
    I should have expanded a bit more really, I meant the type of staff you get in some establishments that seemingly avoid the necessary eye contact with you during that period, when your trying to get hold of them for your bill, a lovely Indian restaurant that me and the wife were in the other week seemed that they were happy enough for us to just sit there and not looking or distracted (total of three staff in a fairly empty restaurant) when we were trying to get the bill, to the point where I had to get up and go ask for it.

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    The problem is not the resturant per se, but the calibre of staff. There may also be some correllation to age/experience. It is my experience in general (and as usual there are always exceptions) that young people are poorly educated in etiquette, often fail to grasp the basic meaning of 'polite' and 'helpful'. You will find that often your waiting staff in these establishments are young people either on a gap year, doing a weekend/evening job while at college/Uni or the 'drop-outs' that left school without qualifications and needed to get a job pronto. Most of these young people don't care about service. They don't give a flying fig about their customers. They are more interested in sneaking food out of the kitchen or booze out of the bar than they are about whether or not their customers are happy. If you have good wait staff in these places it is either because they are trying to do an in-house promotion scheme to advance their career or there are some financial or other incentives. They want to do as little work as possible so naturally they will find other things to be doing rather than risk meeting the eye of a customer who may want them to do something more taxing than folding napkins. You will always find this in the 'high street' resturants because they are probably the largest employers of young people with little requirement for qualification or experience.

    The failure here is our failure as a society to instill the basic values of customer service into our young people. There will be some you encounter that have the right attitude, but for every one that does, there are 50 that don't.

    Higher end resturants tend to want experience, although then we get into the snobbery aspect but thats another thread entirely.

  7. #22

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    Yeah, and there's a reason for it. Kids just have no respect any more! I'm only 24 myself so feel a bit weird saying that but unfortunately it seems true for a lot of them, polite teens are few and far between. They forget about you because they just don't care about their jobs.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't expect them to love every minute of working in a restaurant, but having worked in a popular pizza chain myself, I always made sure I was polite and helpful to customers - I wanted them to tip me after all!

    I recently ate in the same pizza place in which I worked for years and was appalled. The table was dirty when we sat down, so I asked for it to be cleaned which our waitress got a clearly newer girl to do; fine. Drinks came, dirty glasses, sent them back. Went up to the salad bar and there was a bright red (unnatural) hair in the pasta. Told the waitress who apparently toddled off to talk to the shift manager, only for the new girl again to be sent over to tell us the manager had said there was nothing he could do about it as the salad bar is open to everyone. They didn't even change the pasta that we had pointed out had a hair in it! Food came, lo and behold more hair in the OH's lasagne. Complained again, this time the shift manager came to our table and stood there staring blankly. Enough time passed that I eventually had to tell him what would happen (i.e. we'd not be paying for the lasagne!). Asked for the bill, as others have said took ages to come but now all of a sudden our waitress who we haven't seen since ordering is super friendly and chatting about xmas - clearly she still thought we'd be tipping her! Well, the new girl had been running her legs off all night cleaning up after everyone and dealing with issues the manager should have been doing or at least the more experienced waitress, so we tipped her on the way out. The waitress got nothing, and the manager got a balling out as I'm still good friends with the restaurant manager.

    TL;DR - I agree, service is awful in a lot of restaurants at the moment.

  8. #23

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    It depends on the restaurant, and the area in my experience. For example, there's an Indian down near me where they are amazing. Friendly and helpful staff, definitely know to go the extra mile and they get custom accordingly. Things like offering you a free drink while you wait for your take away if they are busy for example.

    Other places, mostly either inner city or those 'shopping park' type places, seem to suffer with the same problems as mentioned by others - dirty tables, slack staff who don't pay attention to the customer to ensure they have a good experience and just general overall 'laziness'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    It depends on the restaurant, and the area in my experience.
    Couldn't agree more, and I'd add that I find it's the chain restaurants that are worst. The family run restaurants tend to be much better in my experience, most likely because the manager wages are directly affected by profit, which can only be helped by increased footfall and good service will of course help that.

    I know that waiters/waitresses aren't on a brilliant wage, but that should be the incentive to give good service IMO - when I was a waiter, my tips were almost always equal to or even more than my wage for the shift, effectively taking me from £3.50 an hour anywhere up to around the £10 an hour mark - but that all depended on how I treated my customers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AMLightfoot View Post
    Higher end resturants tend to want experience, although then we get into the snobbery aspect but thats another thread entirely.
    Higher end restaurants tend to be managed better. I don't believe it's down to the inefficacy of "young people", service attitudes are the responsibility of the management. If they are failing, then the inexperienced staff stand no chance. A good Maître d' will marshall even inexperienced staff to provide good, attentive but not overbearing service. Would you expect to find one in Pizza Express - probably not. People want good food, cheap. The easiest way to achieve that is to cut costs on front of house - not just the waits are inexperienced but the management too. Are youth really lacking basic values or are you just getting what you pay for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Higher end restaurants tend to be managed better. I don't believe it's down to the inefficacy of "young people", service attitudes are the responsibility of the management. If they are failing, then the inexperienced staff stand no chance. A good Maître d' will marshall even inexperienced staff to provide good, attentive but not overbearing service. Would you expect to find one in Pizza Express - probably not. People want good food, cheap. The easiest way to achieve that is to cut costs on front of house - not just the waits are inexperienced but the management too. Are youth really lacking basic values or are you just getting what you pay for?
    That's a good point although you do see good service from some young people, and in certain restaurants, where tips are paid on a per-person basis (rather than all put in a pot and divided up), there is incentive for a waitperson to encourage generosity by giving good service. Although I have to question now whether or not many young people even know HOW to give good service. You are right in saying that good service is the responsibility of the management, and you are right that you get what you pay for, but staff turnover in chain restaurants is so high that tbh quality and customer service is probably not high on the agenda when recruitment is taking place. It's all about the money now.

  12. #27
    CAM
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    If you like!

    It's bad etiquette to deliver a bill without a customer asking for it. It's like saying "leave us, now!". Front of House also can't guess who (of a group (>1)) should be presented with the bill. Giving it to the wrong person can lead to trouble (Mr doesn't want Miss to see it etc). I don't think I've ever just been presented with a bill without asking for it, nor would I expect to. It's probably one of the first phrases I learn in a new language - "Can I have bill please".
    Ask indirectly. "Is everything OK? Anyone like some coffee?" "Oh no, we are fine, can I have the bill though please?"

  13. #28
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    Well the story evolves - I did email Pizza Express in the end and a day or so after...... the Reading General Manager calls me up to say sorry, mentions he has noticed the same and will be speaking to staff and would like to offer me a meal on the house

    The only thing is...will things change :P

  14. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfed View Post
    Well at least its not just me

    I may have to send them an email (and link to this article if that's ok by everyone) - not that I expect a response but hey!
    You will get one. I complained about a Pizza Express in London, one of the busier ones too, and was suprised to have an email from an area manager, a call from the actual store manager and then a further email offering me a free meal to try and make up for the mistakes they made.

    I've complained about a few places recently, and they've all given me a free meal. I have never done it for that though really although given that I often pay a lot in these places I do expect good service. But if you don't speak out, they don't know, and I genuinely think they've listened to what I have said.

    I tend to hit them where it hurts. Twitter.

    Edit: Ah, we were writing at same time. Glad to see you got it sorted.
    Last edited by Edu-IT; 16th January 2013 at 11:59 AM.

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    The problem with the British is that we won't complain. I have been with people who have moaned and moaned about the quality of the food/service and when the waiter comes over to ask if everything is OK, they blithly say "Yes, lovely thanks"
    If you don't complain, they won't know and it won't improve. As long as you are complaining quietly and politely about a genuine issue, no decent restaurant will ever be unhappy.

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