Are you serving servers or serving customers?

This evening, I had some family members visiting from out of town. We went to eat at a popular family style restaurant and were seated quickly. However, we were taken to a booth. I said to the waitress, “I’m sorry but you can’t seat 7 people at a booth, there isn’t enough space.” Without missing a beat she replied, “oh, we can’t push two tables together because we don’t have a waiter that can serve two tables.” I looked around and saw four empty tables; any two of them could have easily been pushed together and the same waiter could have taken care of us. She then walked away and left us to scrounge up an extra chair to put it in the aisle while 3 persons each squeezed in on each side of the table in the booth.

And then it occurred to me, she is serving servers instead of serving customers. Her main concern was that a server was not permitted, or not available, to serve two tables. But, as a retail establishment, it isn’t the customer’s responsibility to conform to the needs of the business, it is the business’ responsibility to serve the customer. And, if the business cannot fully accommodate customers, then don’t seat them in the first place. Put a “CLOSED” sign on the door.

Or, better yet, push two tables together and assign the same waiter. It was only about four steps away. When serving customers the first thought should not be, “how can I NOT serve you?” Instead, it should be “how CAN I serve you?” Find a way, its not that hard when you want to. After all, a restaurant is a service business, so excel in serving. Its the only opportunity you will have to really set yourself apart and make a difference.

Read my related post of an organization that excels in service HERE.

Greg L. Lowhorn