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No matter what you do, do it well!

From the Colorado Dermatology Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Restaurant - Dinner Table for Two Set

“Hone your craft.”

It does not matter what you do, you should strive to be your best! Last night we went to dinner at a well-known chain restaurant. We have eaten at this chain in the past but never at this particular location. The atmosphere was as expected, the food was great, the conversation was delightful; we were there to celebrate a birthday so the mood was celebratory. The service, however, was horrendous!

On our way back to the table the hostess informed us that the fryer was down so there would not be any fried food available. Ok, no big deal, we weren’t there for the fried food anyway. We were seated and the hostess said our server would be right with us. He was not right with us. When he finally came over he asked if we wanted to start with an appetizer; some potato skins, or poppers maybe? I said, “The hostess told us the fryer was down, what appetizers can we get?” Our server says, “I can’t hear you, you’re going to have to speak up.” He does not get down to my level to hear me better. I ask the question again, louder. His was response was, “Oh ya, I forgot.” Then he let us know only 3 items would be available and not the ones he offered when he walked up. We declined and ordered drinks.

Now my boyfriend and I started talking, only half-heartedly looking at the menu, we are in no hurry and want to enjoy the evening. The server comes back and gives us our drinks, then asks if we are ready. We tell him we need a few minutes. We then look at the menus and decide on what we want. We fold up our menus and continue our conversation. Our server is at the table right next to us for several minutes, then walks away without asking if we are ready. 20 minutes later the server comes to see if we are ready to order, again not a big deal as we are not in a hurry. We start to order and before I can get out a full sentence, he asks me how I want my steak, what side, what dressing, barely giving me time to answer before he asks the next question. My boyfriend orders and continues to speak while the server does the same thing to him.

The server walks away and we return to our meal, determined to have a great evening, so we let that roll off. A bit later the server comes back by the table and asks me if I want another drink. I decline and he walks away, never asking my boyfriend if he would like another drink. My boyfriend half turns in his seat and has to holler to the server that he would like another beer. About 15 minutes go by and still no beer, the server comes up and grabs the empty glass and says, “I’ll get your beer.” No apology, no explanation as to why he hasn’t brought it already.

As I looked around the restaurant I noticed something: most of the staff were wearing tee shirts that said: “I love my job” on the back. Our server had on a plain tee shirt with the restaurant logo on the front. Now obviously this doesn’t mean anything, maybe he wore that shirt yesterday and it’s in the wash but…

Our food was brought out by someone else who is sure to ask if things look ok, and if we need anything else. We say no and he leaves, and just as he is walking away I realize I need horseradish for my prime rib. But I figure since our server did not bring our food it shouldn’t be long before he comes by to see if everything is ok. I was wrong, it was a while. When he finally does come by, I ask for horseradish and a bit of butter as my potato did not have any on it and he says he’ll be right back. He was NOT right back. A little while later the manager comes over to see how things are. I have seen him walking the tables and just checking in with customers. When he moved to our table, my boyfriend asks him for some butter. We joke and say, “Let’s see who comes back first.” Well no surprise, the manager is back first. We share the butter and go on with our meal. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will not have horseradish with my steak but that’s ok, the au jus is very tasty.

As we eat and converse and enjoy our evening, again we are not in a rush and want to enjoy the celebratory mood. Quite a bit of time passes and as I am scanning the restaurant, I see my server about 15 feet away leaned up against the wall having a chat with another server. He is obviously not swamped. Now this frustrates me a bit, as he has not been the most attentive server the whole evening. So, I get up and walk over to where he is standing. I say “excuse me” to interrupt the conversation. He still does not realize he has forgotten to bring what I have asked for. I say “Do you think I could get the horseradish?” and now it dawns on him. He gets the horseradish and brings it to my table, my boyfriend lets him know that he asked the manager for butter and it came right away. He asks what took so long. The server admits he forgot. So we finish our meals and do not see our server again until we are done and he comes to ask if we need boxes and drops the check. He does not ask if we want dessert or more drinks. When he drops the check he puts it on my side of the table, this is fine but this is not typical etiquette. And the entire evening he spoke only to me directly unless my boyfriend spoke to him first. There were 2 people at the table and both deserved to be acknowledged.

Now, this is not a story about horseradish, that is simply the catalyst to the evening. It was clear this server had no interest in serving us, he was not attentive to the tables around us either, so it was clear he had no interest in serving anyone last night. Now maybe he was having a bad day or wasn’t feeling well or whatever. We did not let this change the feel of the evening for us, but it was disappointing to be so clearly a burden to someone for asking them to do their job.

So, to circle back, we have never before eaten at this location and honestly, we probably won’t go back to that location simply because we don’t want to have him as a server again.

I waited tables for many years. I enjoyed it! I loved talking to people and seeing my regulars getting to know people. I have a very low tolerance for servers who seem to not care. I worked double and triple shifts sometimes and the people in the morning get the same service as the people at night. I worked for that tip but moreover, I worked to be sure that my customers wanted to come back. Without repeat customers, you will soon go out of business.

The point is, it does not matter what you are doing, as long as you do it well. The world needs ditch diggers, servers, cashiers, stockers, roofers, medical assistants, nurses, doctors, physician assistants, billers, receptionist, etc. and if you are going to do something, you might as well give it your all, and make it matter for the moment. Even if it does not really matter to you, it matters to someone.

Have a wonderful day!

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