This is a common occurence at many restaurants: They start out strong, and then somewhere along the line they drop the ball and don’t see it out the door. It is important that if restaurants want to succeed, they figure this out and finish the job.
So many times I have eaten out, had a wonderful time, until the very end when I can’t simply get a server to bring me my check, so I can pay and get out of there. The problem with that is that it makes the guest feel unappreciated and taken for granted. It’s like the server is thinking that they got me to spend all that they could, so what is the point of doing anything else? Remember: When the customer wants to leave, they want to leave.
I recently took my family out to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. She picked a place in town (how I wish I could tell you the name of the place, cuz we won’t be back), and invited some of her friends to join us. We spent about four hundred dollars–that’s a lot of money for anyone–and at the end of the meal it seemed as though the entire staff had disappeared.
I had to get up to ask for the check, (I didn’t bother to ask for our server, he was clearly done with us, which was too bad for him because I probably would have left him about $100 if he had simply finished what he started and just brought it home). As if that wasn’t annoying enough, I had to get up again to ask someone’s help to pay the check.
That is extra aggravating. You would think that if someone had to get up to ask for the check, that it would be a clue that the person wants to pay and leave, and that someone would be on top of that, ready and looking for the credit card being put down. There are many other examples of restaurants not finishing the job, I just happened to mention the check thing because it is the one that comes up most often in the National Restaurant Association, and the Zagat guide when it comes to most complaints about service.
Can I go, now?
Anyway, it brings me back to my point (I do have one). Finish the job! It isn’t just about taking an order and bringing the food–there needs to be follow through, too. Make sure your staff is not mentally checking out if they are still on the clock. Often the problem is that the manager or owner has excused themselves, either gone home or to the office to do some paperwork, and the staff kind of lets their collective guard down.
If you are the boss, and you leave the floor, put someone in charge to see that everything is taken care of until the guests are out the door. Do they need help with packages? Do they have coats that need to be retrieved? Maybe there would be an opportunity to sell more drinks…Does someone need more coffee? Or a check? Finish what you started.