Have you ever been asked that question when you weren’t chewing your food? I swear they are trained to do it at the exact moment your fork deposits food in your mouth. Maybe they ask it at that moment because they don’t want to know or that they want to appear to care but don’t. I even get the question seconds after the food was put in front of me and I’m busy finishing my conversation before starting my meal. “How is everything tasting so far?” Uh, what? How about a half hour after you’re done your meal when all the evidence is already in the trash?
I like to pretend to be chewing when I see our server walk by shortly after receiving our food. When they think it is perfect timing to ask, that is when I, miraculously, have an empty mouth and respond, “would you really like to know or are you just asking for sake of asking?” Sometimes, they just smile and walk away, other times they look panicked and frantically look for their manager and yes, sometimes they stop and smile and say, “yes, I’d really like to know”.
Now here is the kicker! How many of you reading this respond by doing the automatic head nod that everything is great yet you’ll leave it on your plate, you’ll silently complain to your dinner partner and/or you’ll vow never to come back due to the food, service or ambiance?
Isn’t the point of the question to find out the general public’s opinion and hear their constructive criticism in order to improve their service, food, quality and ambiance? Would it not make sense to want improve these things in order to run a successful and respectable establishment for many years to come? There is no question that people open restaurants because they like food, but as I have mentioned in my very first blog, not every one knows how to run one.
Please don’t think that I am some sort of mega food snob, I’m not, I just appreciate food that is made with some heart and soul. I don’t always bash the food but I do find it really difficult to find a restaurant where I can taste fresh ingredients and feel the passion and experience ooze out of the kitchen. I have come across places where I do nod my head enthusiastically in appreciation of the meal and I mean every nod, but they are few and far between. I love it when someone takes their own question seriously and actively listens to their customer’s response.
Next time you choose to dine out and the server stops by at the appropriate time to ask how everything is, take a minute and answer the question honestly.
- This is really great!
- There were’t enough organic choices on the menu
- You don’t serve sustainable fish
- I like the choices I have
- The food lacks flavor
- Compliments to the Chef/cook
- The bathrooms are dirty
- This place is very clean
- The service is slow
- I got the bill before I could choose dessert
- They took away my plate before my partner was done eating
- Our server was professional, attentive and quick
- Etc. etc. etc.
If they don’t hear from you, good or bad, they can never improve and they will become one of thousands of restaurants that will shut their doors and you’ll wonder where they went?