Thursday, February 3, 2011

Seek Out Bartenders

Photo From Flickr by Lee Coursey

Recently I was listening to a music producer give a speech on the current economic climate of the music industry and they said something that really got me thinking about customer service in restaurants. They said that in Nashville, if you work in the music business, you should always leave good tips for your waiters. The reasoning? Behind every one of them, there is an aspiring country music star. That same waiter might walk in your music studio tomorrow.

Whatever the city you live in, can't you make a similar statement about restaurant waiters? In Los Angeles or New York City they are aspiring actors while in Seattle or Chicago they may be writers. The point is that in most places you go, the job of waiter is merely a stepping stone to something greater. If you want great restaurant service then, should you really have a waiter serve you?

When given a choice, I prefer the service level of a bartender rather than a waiter. Most people think of the idea of sitting at the bar to eat and drink as a less romantic place reserved for lushes. Contrary to popular belief, I personally find the setting of a bar extremely intimate as there isn't a table between me and the person I'm with. The service is usually significantly better as well. This isn't an accident or random chance occurrence.

A bartender is there because they trained to be there and want to be there. A waiter is there only for a check.

A bartender wants you to stay as long as you like (within reason). A waiter wants to get you in and out as quickly as possible.

A bartenders lets you establish a tab or credit all based on nothing more than trust. A waiter says pay now.

A bartender is a great listener - think of all the stories they hear? A waiter only listens to the sounds of what you are going to buy.

A bartender actually makes what he sells you. A waiter is merely an order taker.

In every service business there are people who mimic bartenders and then there are those that are nothing more than waiters. If you want great service, enlist the work of people who actually make things and are there because they want to be there. Instead of living with just average service, seek out the bartenders.
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