My Take On Customer Service

Customer service can be a dicey topic because there aren’t general rules for how people want to be treated.

[DISCLAIMER: This blog is about how I want to be treated in a food or beverage setting, and what I believe should be the standard.]

Ultimately, customer service should be centered on solving the customer’s problems in an efficient and creative way. Of course, this can manifest itself in many different ways in varying settings with an array of personalities.

Here are some of my customer service standards, most of them courtesy of Danny Meyer and others I respect in the service industry.

Nathan’s Standards for Customer Service

  1. Never come to my table with dirty dishes from another table. I don’t care to know what someone else’s leftovers look like.
  2. Don’t ask me if I am, “still working” on an item. Working infers that it is a chore to eat the food, and if that’s the case, your chef must not be very good.
  3. Do not try and upsell me on a dish. It’s tacky and likens you to a used Car Salesman (no offense to Used Car Salesman).
  4. Do not squat or kneel beside my table. You are a professional and you shouldn’t be that close to the floor.
  5. Know how to read your customer. This is the most important to me and certainly separates most servers from the elite. If someone knows how to master this, then the aforementioned won’t happen.

I want to go to a restaurant and know that the server is an expert. I want my experience to be worth it. And I want to be planning my next visit when I leave.

So, Why All the Fuss?

I know it sounds like I am being extremely picky, and maybe I am, but this can be a cautionary tale or a celebratory one.

When these standards aren’t followed, your experience suffers. And when your experience suffers, you ultimately feel bitter toward the entire industry and are less likely to try other places.

However, when customer service is done right, you place value on what restauranteers, servers and chefs are doing. You understand why meals cost what they do, and you are glad to pay it. You also desire to save up so you can eat out more and more.

So as I finish my rant I will say that these are things that I hope I walk as well as talk. In the shop, I desire for every customer to feel like their problems are solved, even if they don’t view their morning cup of coffee that way. I desire for them to want to come back and tell their friends. I desire for them to feel taken care of by me and the staff.

And isn’t that all any of us could ask for?

If you want to hear more of my thoughts on the subject and which places in town do it well -- let’s chat. I’d also love to hear your dining tales, favorite places and any criticism you have.



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