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  • The Storyteller

Dining Experience: What Do You Mind?

What I mind, when dining – especially at an establishment that claims to take pride in service excellence – factors which contribute to a withdrawal of the Service Bank:

  1. Mediocre, cannot-be-bothered welcome

  2. Not being ready when there is a prior reservation made. (Do address guests by name when you have the information. Say, "A very warm welcome to ABC restaurant, Mr. Brown. We are ready for you, this way please."

  3. Wobbly table or chair (How come this was not noticed by anyone during set-up, day after day?)

  4. Seating a single diner or couple right next to a big group when the other section (opened) offers much better option.

  5. Seating a single diner at a table set for 2 or 4, and not removing the covers, making the diner feel as if all his/her friends have stood him/her up.

  6. Different menus and flyers, all presented unopened (Makes me feel like I have much homework to do)

  7. Menu using QR code which has too much information/choices, making it hard to view on mobile phones

  8. Not automatically informing soup/dish/specials of the day. (Don’t make us ask)

  9. Asking for wine recommendation and the supposed sommelier just points to one item on the menu and saying, "This is good", without giving more information.

  10. Service delay without informing (Often employees feel bad or awkward about having to inform about this, but believe me when I say it is much worse hanging the guests high and dry without letting them know.)

  11. Not reverting when diners asked to check with the kitchen for delay. (We would then wonder: did you check?)

  12. Being informed the dish/drink is not available ten minutes after order is placed

  13. Intrusive and inefficient service – when employees keep coming over to ask about the food, if we would like anything else, and yet not clearing the necessary from the table. Or stuff like clearing the bread basket but not removing the butter; asking if you can help with anything but not noticing the water glasses are needing a refill for the last fifteen minutes.)

  14. Two main courses ordered and one arrived before the other (meaning the other diner has to wait)

  15. Group meal – not knowing who had ordered what, and therefore diners having to raise their hand to say “Me!” when each dish is announced.

  16. Soiled cutlery that diner had placed on the plate being put back on the table when the plate is being cleared.

  17. Table is left messy and uncleared when diners inform they would not be having desserts, but who are still enjoying rest of the food/drinks.

  18. Putting the sole blame on kitchen when food is delayed or order is wrong. (Do have some team spirit!)

  19. Senior staff behaving unkindly to his/her own team

  20. Body language, comportment and grooming of service team – e.g. dragging the feet when walking, slouchy posture, stained uniforms

  21. Presenting the bill in a dirty/highly stained bill folder

  22. Pen offered for signing is not professional (e.g. cartoons) or lacks sufficient ink

  23. Soft-pressurising me into writing a positive review

  24. Saying thank you without looking at the guest

  25. Saying goodbye without look at the guest/farewell lacking sincerity

Reflective thoughts: What are the small “irks” that matter to you during a dining experience? What would make the positive difference for you?

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