My wife and I stopped for lunch on Sunday at a restaurant we haven’t been to before. They were fairly busy, which to me was a good indication that the food must be pretty good! So I thought we might be waiting, even for a short while. However, we were still seated almost immediately. Great!
We might’ve waited for a couple of minutes at our table before the server came to ask about our drink order. She immediately apologized for our wait. Her service was timely and caring. When the meal was brought out, again she apologized for the wait. “I’m sorry for the wait”, she said. But we really didn’t have to wait very long at all. And, again, she checked on us a couple of times while we were eating, and offered to refill our drinks. Why was she apologizing? She was kind and checked on us again, at least a couple of times, while we continued on with our meal. And then, when she brought our check at the end of the meal, she again said “I’m so sorry for your wait, we have been busy today”.
Last night, I went for a bike ride and then ordered a couple of smoothies from a smoothie shop close to where my ride ended. I used their app to order, and I drove straight there. It probably took all of 3 minutes before I arrived. There were several vehicles in the drive through line, and a couple of people ahead of me inside. Three young ladies were working hard to prepare the smoothies and smoothie bowls. I walked in, sat down and just waited. I may have waited for five minutes before my order was ready. And the young lady who handed it to me said “I’m so sorry about your wait, we’ve been pretty busy”.
In both instances, I told the server and then person behind the counter “Please don’t apologize for being busy and working hard. You’re doing great!”
Both times, the person looked back at me as though I had two heads, and then relief swept over their bodies. A smile appeared, their shoulders relaxed, and I could visibly sense gratitude take over.
Last night I went one step further, as I often do in these situations. I suggested a different phrase. Thank you for your patience. The young lady repeated it back to me without hesitation!
This happens pretty much everywhere I go. Even at some so-called “high end” restaurants. Not that I go there often, but when I have, it seems to be the same story!
How is it that the people who are in the service industry are so concerned about speed over customer care? They generally do a good job of the latter, but only seem to focus on the former! Is culture moving so fast that speed is really the only goal? Or are we just lacking in leadership who understand the importance of words?
I want to restate this. There is never a reason to apologize for being busy and working hard!
Have you noticed this trend? Is waiting really so bad? Isn’t good customer care much more appreciated, or is it just me?
It all depends on why I was waiting. If my reservation was for 7 and they seat me at 730, I’m annoyed. I recently wrote about a restaurant experience where my friend was served her meal, I asked twice where my meal was and it appeared at least 20 minutes later.
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Yeah that’s totally understandable. I would’ve done the same. In the situations I’ve encountered lately, I didn’t have a reservation, there was nothing wrong with the little amount of waiting, and the service was great!
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I have noticed this trend, and I’m like you and do my utmost to be nice to servers because they really have it rough these days. A smile and some assurance goes a long way.