I went out to dinner the other night with my daughter. At least I tried to. My wife was having an event at the house, and it was suggested that I leave the premises. My first mistake was making my poor daughter walk to the restaurant.
Let me check
We are lucky to live in a neighborhood that has many dining options for us. The first place we attempted was understandably busy–I knew getting in was wishful thinking on my part. I asked the woman at the front door if it would be possible to get a table for two. “Let me check,” was her response.
You don’t know?
After a bit of posing, she told us it would be a half hour. My blood sugar was probably a bit lower than is actually healthy for any human being (my second mistake–or maybe this was my first mistake), so we decided not to wait and to try the next place. Like I said, there are many options in this neighborhood. Next choice: Closed. It is Monday, after all. We tried another place further down the street, but again, too long of a wait. Now we need to walk all the way home to get the car and try another area. I probably should have grabbed some peanuts or something. While my daughter went in to get a warmer coat, I called another favorite place of ours. “Could you hold please?” “Sure,” I said, and then preceded to wait five minutes on hold. That’s about three and a half minutes longer than I am usually capable of. I hung up. They clearly are too busy. As my daughter drove, I called another place not far away. “Can two of us get in for dinner sometime soon?” “Let me check.” Seriously? Again? Let me check? You don’t know? He comes back on the phone to tell me it is at least thirty minutes.
Finally, a point
Let me start by reminding everyone reading this that I probably should have grabbed a snack earlier. HOWEVER, manage the door! Know exactly where you stand in terms of seating. Don’t get me wrong, I love that these places are busy. It is great that I have so many choices in my neighborhood. I even think it is wonderful that people from all over Portland, and beyond, come to my hood to enjoy themselves.
How about some effort to get me to stay?
When I talk to my students, or consulting clients, I always tell them that the answer is never just ‘no’. The same should be true at the front door of these places. I know anytime I worked the front of a restaurant, I hated to make anyone wait, or not seat them at all. It seems to me that there should be some effort to get me to not mind waiting that half hour. How about, “I’m sorry, it might be as much as a half hour, but if you want, you can wait in our lounge area and get a little appetizer until the table is ready.” “I will let you know as soon as it is ready–maybe we will get lucky and it won’t be that long”
“Gosh, I am so sorry, we just had a little rush, but if you can hang on for a bit I will get you down as soon as possible.” ” We have a bar area you can have a drink and wait there.” “Better than going out in that cold.”
All right, I understand that this continues to just be a fantasy for me, but is going that extra mile too much to ask of these places? Shouldn’t there be some sense that they want me to eat at their restaurant? Manage your door! And while you’re at it…manage your floor, too.