I have written before about bad customer service in the retail industry, but now I would like to take a minute to share my views on bad service given in restaurants.
I am a firm believer in not tipping when the service is bad.
If you have a few problems during a meal, but make sure to let me and my dining companions aware of said problems, I will typically overlook the bad service.
If the waiter or waitress offers up slow, inattentive or rude service than it can be a guarantee I will not be tipping that night.
This weekend I spent time with some friends in Pittsburg. It was my friend Lukeís birthday weekend, so we were celebrating when we had a chance to get some friends together. The first night we went out to dinner the service at the restaurant started out well enough, but about ten minutes into our meal it slowed down considerably. There was no indication of why the service slowed down or where our waitress had gone, but as we watched meals come out for tables that came in after us, we started to wonder. We did leave a small tip for our waitress at that establishment, but it definitely was not 10 percent.
I have had friends ask me why I choose not to tip when the service is bad. They tend to ask me if I have ever been and waitress and I am honest with them, no I have not been part of wait staff at a restaurant, but I have worked in retail customer service. To me the basic principals are the same, be honest, be courteous and work as quickly as possible. If there is a problem with one of the meals, please let my dining companions and I know so we can make a decision to keep the meal flowing. Do not let us continue to wonder where our meal is and why others are being served.
Saturday night we were hoping for a turn in the attitudes of the people waiting on us, but again we were disappointed.
We went to dinner and again at first the service started out alright. We got our drinks in a timely fashion and set to looking at the menus.
Our waitress came back to take our orders and after repeating ourselves a few times we thought she had the order correct. We were wrong. Our appetizers came out just fine, but not to the correct people and then as meals started arriving, people started noticing missing components. One friendís meal was missing the salad, another friendís meal was missing the correct fries and the correct sauce for the chicken, and finally one of the meals did not come out at all.
We started telling the waitress who was missing what and trying to correct the mistakes in between her ignoring us and rushing to help members of a wedding reception who kept running in and out of the establishment. It was a nightmare.
I can honestly say that I felt no reason to tip this young lady and I do not believe any of my dining companions did either.
In that same sense there have been times where I have had absolutely exceptional service. When I have service like that I make it known to the waiter or waitress by voicing my opinion and leaving a sizable tip as well as letting the management of the establishment know.
I have never once been afraid to let someone know if they are doing a good or bad job and I can only hope I find more waiters and waitresses who offer up amazing service.
(Stefanie Cope is a staff writer for the Columbus Advocate. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.)