It should be simple!
There are some very smart pub/restaurants near our village (Astwood Bank) that just don’t seem to be busy enough. I wonder if they will even be around in six months or a years time; it would be sad if they weren’t, as they are old, established places which have been taken over and then appear to have ‘died’.
I was discussing one of them with a friend, J, a couple of days back when she told me, ‘I’ve given them 3 chances and each time the service has been dreadful, so I’m not going back again’. I completely understood.
Another friend, P, said of the same place, ‘We’ve been twice in the last year or so and it’s been diabolical.’ When I asked why, she said, ‘Service, knowledge of what is on the menu and just lack of atmosphere.’
I understood again! What you want when you go out for dinner is excellent service, a trustworthy waiter (who knows and can explain the menu), efficiency (so you go in, are given the menu and then they take your order within ten minutes max, and explain if it is freshly cooked how long it may take to arrive) and a supportive member of staff if things go slightly wrong! Simple, isn’t it?
I have been to the place in question several times in the last year (I do like to support small businesses) yet I still cannot (sadly) thoroughly recommend it!
The first time (when they were newly opened) the service wasn’t great and some things on the menu were not available but, as they were so new, I put it down to teething problems. I went back again. The second time the service was slightly better but not A1. The food was fabulous though, so a few months later I suggested to some friends, R and S, that we meet there and eat in the dog-friendly area, as they would have their dog with them.
This time the food was really good, we didn’t really notice the service so there couldn’t have been a problem, but we weren’t in the main restaurant…so maybe we were more visible to the staff?
I have also been twice for coffee and cake with friends, H and C; the service was super, the cake scrummy and the coffee was nice and strong. However, the place was virtually empty both times.
Discussing this with my OH over dinner (at another super-smart, newly-ish taken over place) we came to the conclusion that these places just need to ensure they take on, and train, the right staff.
Staff are often ‘OK’ but they need to be excellent.
They may be able to ‘serve’ and use the right words (including please and thank-you) but they need to ‘welcome’ and ‘care’ for customers.
They need to be super-friendly without being over-familiar.
They need to check in with you but not bother you.
They need to chat to you before you have to chat to them.
It really should be that simple!