“No, we can’t do that.” “No, we don’t seat incomplete parties.” “No, you can’t switch out the fries for a baked potato.” “No, we don’t allow any substitutions.” “No, I can’t take an order until your party is complete.”

Heard these precious gems before?

Don’t be the restaurant of ‘NO

I think worse than being the restaurant of ‘no’ is that so few of these places are willing to offer any alternatives. How about: “No, I am sorry, we can’t do that, but we can do this instead…” What a difference that can make.

Throw ’em a bone

I often sit in restaurants and watch as the servers say ‘no’, almost with joy in their eyes, and watch the frustration on the face of the guest. Hiding behind the rules of the restaurant and forgetting that they are in the hospitality business.

Be the place of ‘yes’

“Oh, you are going to have some people join you?” “Let me pull this table over so you can all fit.” “You want a salad instead of the mashed potatoes?” “I can do that, but they make me charge an extra $2–will that be okay?”

Isn’t that much better? Doesn’t that help the customer feel better about eating there? Don’t you think that will help the customer to want to come back again and spend more money?

No salt?

I know of a chef in town who doesn’t like to put salt on the tables. He feels his food is perfectly seasoned already. Forget the fact that he probably wasn’t the one who prepared that particular meal. Forget the fact that people have different tolerance levels for salt. Besides, why are you training the servers to tell the customers that they don’t need salt?

We serve the food and the drink the way we feel it should be served. How dare I, the customer, have an opinion on how I like my food prepared. The food that I am paying for. Ever received attitude from a server because you wanted your fish cooked a bit more? That’s what I am talking about.

Just say ‘yes’

Shouldn’t be that difficult.



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