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Friday, April 15, 2005 | Last week I talked about bad restaurant service.
This week, I have some points which I think make for good restaurant service. The most important fact that all restaurant staffs need to remember is that they are in the service business, and that means that their primary job is to serve the customer.
I have two examples of what I consider to be exemplary service. The first took place at Gramercy Tavern in New York City. Owner Danny Meyer is known throughout the business as an extraordinary host who prides himself on his fine service. I was dining with a woman friend, and we ordered a tasting menu which came with selected wines with each course. At the second course, I was served a white wine. When the waiter came by, he noticed that I hadn’t drunk my wine.
When he asked if I liked it, I hesitated. His immediate response was, “Oh, I’m sorry you didn’t like it. I’ll be right back with another.” He did exactly that and checked back to make sure I was happy. The waiter would have come back 10 times with other wines just to be sure I was satisfied.
A similar event happened to me recently at Delfina in San Francisco. They had an Italian wine, which I particularly like, on their list. Unfortunately, it was not available by the glass. In the middle of dinner, however, the wait person came by and told me they had opened a bottle and knowing how much I wanted to try it, offered me a glass.
These two restaurant experiences represent service at its finest. These restaurants clearly understand that making customers happy is the bottom line. Needless to say, I have been their best PR person telling everyone I know how terrific both restaurants are. My fine service list is the following:
1. Polite, knowledgeable, welcoming people answering restaurant phones.