With a (very) few exceptions, lately I’ve been appalled by the poor service I’ve received in restaurants of all levels. Inattention, laziness, unconcern, wrong orders, incorrect checks, passive-aggressive behavior, sloppy serving, impoliteness, insincerity, dishonesty the list goes on and on. In most cases, I decide it’s not worth complaining to management about, and unless it’s grossly negligent or hostile, I still tip.
But I’ve learned that poor service spoils my dining experience, regardless of the price or food quality. I’m lucky to live in a city where there’s an abundance of great places to eat, so I’m learning, after 1 or 2 bad experiences at a place, simply not to bother going back. But this bothers me a little, because I wonder if the owners understand that poor service in their establishments is hindering their success.
One of my pet peeves is menu offerings that may be discontinued or sold out–why would a server not give notice of this? Another is complete unfamiliarity with the beers or wines offered. Still another is the crooked kibuki surrounding “Do you need change” when I lay down 2x the cash necessary to pay the bill, and the change comes in denominations impossible to make an appropriate gratuity.
On the other hand, if I find a place with great service and the food is merely good, I tend to go back.
So… I’m curious… Do you have it in you to go out to eat and feel your money was well-spent when you’ve had poor service? Can you separate the food/service aspects sufficiently to justify being repeatedly subjected to lousy service?