Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's All About Customer Service

I work a lot of evenings and truth be told, I've never been the "let's go have a drink after a long day at work" type. Especially since I often close up shop around 9 or 10 at night and have a family waiting at home. But last week, after a super-successful class, I decided to pop downtown for a quick drink with the talented instructor, Rochelle Myers.

Rochelle chose a popular downtown eatery with a rep for excellent cocktails. With the warmer weather here, I didn't really need anything super-foofy. In fact, after an incredibly delicious Tom Collins a few months ago at Firestones (I have got to get their recipe), I've been having a little craving.

We enter the bar a little after 10, and being in the food business, I completely understand that feeling when folks walk in the door late, so I always check to be sure that the business is still open and serving new customers. It was pretty obvious from the start that we weren't high on the bartenders' classy-cool list. Though not initially unpleasant, there certainly was no spark or enthusiasm on his end, but there were other folks sitting at the bar, and things were still moving along in the restaurant, so we decided to stay.

After a quick look at the cocktail list, I went with the Tom Collins. Now listen, I get that this isn't the super-chicest drink around. It's even a little old school. But I don't need a bartender to sneer at me when I order one, and to inform me that I "know there's gin in that, right?". Yeah, I know what I'm ordering. From then on, not a word as the drinks came and the check was brought without asking if we wanted another round (after 3 more people had just walked in and had a seat). BTW - we didn't.

I could go on, but I'm just having a little vent here. Abrupt, bordering on unfriendly service, especially while younger, cuter, more scantily dressed people than me keep walking into the bar and having a seat with no issue, just makes me angry. It makes me feel like I don't belong. And I hate that.

Maybe everyone had a long day. Maybe the bartender was beat. But you know what? I've had days like that, plenty in fact, and I do my best to make sure the customer feels welcome. Because after all, service tends to be as important as the food, even if that's sometimes forgotten.

7 comments:

Angie said...

I know, being in the industry, that you don't want to bad mouth people. But I've been a hostess, server, and bar back. I have tons of friends who are bartenders. And they are great. People who are good at their jobs deserve business, people who are not talented, or who are rude and dismissive of customers do not deserve the business. I'm just saying.

Chef Christine said...

Thanks Angie. I've tried to keep it cool, but it was really irritating. Again, maybe just a bad day or looking forward to going home. But I'm not an idiot (most times anyway) and certainly don't want to pay to be treated that way. I've visited many of the bars at downtown restaurants and love the drinks, crowds, and bartenders. Especially the bar at Acacia and those delicious lemon drops. Thanks for visiting!

Rochelle said...

I'm starting to wonder if I have bad bartender-fu. We had a less than stellar experience out drinking before, remember? Next time you pick!

Cathy B said...

Kevin and I had a similar experience at a downtown bar/restaraunt two weeks ago. Bartender was curt and unfriendly. We didn't even stay for one round. Wonder if it was the same one...

Chef Christine said...

Perhaps. We'll have to chat this weekend. :)

Hilda S said...

Alright, who are we talking about here? If its one of my guys I'm going to be really upset.

Chef Christine said...

Doesn't really matter where, just that it doesn't keep going on, right?