I enjoy eating out. Yes, I just heard the collective "WELL DUH" from my regular readers; anyone who's read this blog knows that I love having a good meal served to me in a comfortable setting.
However, lately I've been irked by, what seems to be, a new trend in service. I'm referring to wait staff bringing the entrée 2 minutes after the appetizer, forcing me to abandon my appetizer or let my entrée get cold. I hate that.
Keep in mind, if it only happened occasionally this blog entry wouldn't exist. Waiting tables is a hard job, and flukes happen. I get that. Yet, it's happened every time I've eaten out this summer.
This is an industry wide problem, so I'm not interested in bashing individual restaurants. Without naming names, the worst example took place last week.
I received my Cheddar Bay biscuits and steamed muscles appetizer, and had eaten three of the twelve muscles when my salad arrived. I shrugged and figured I'd finish the muscles and eat the biscuits with the salad. Two minutes later my lobster bake arrived. I gulped down the muscles and skipped the salad to keep my main dish from getting cold.
A diner should never feel the need to gulp. A diner should be able to enjoy the meal they've purchased,in a leisurely relaxed fashion.
The training website WaiterStudent.com teaches, "Before you deliver the entrée(s), you must make sure that the table is ready for the entrée(s). Make sure you remove any appetizer plates or other dishes to make room for the main course. Nothing is more uncomfortable than a pile of dishes at the table that the customer must navigate around to enjoy their meal."
The one remedy diners have is the adjustment of the tip. Unfortunately, restaurateurs, such as Portlander Scott Dolich of Park Kitchen and The Bent Brick, are leading the movement to ban tips. The idea is to raise prices 15% across the board to ensure a level of payment to the server despite the diner's assessment of service.
While I agree servers should receive a living wage, the ability to incentivize servers to deliver quality service isn't something I'm willing to sacrifice.