Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Greeting

Acknowledging the awareness of a customer is very important. By greeting the customer properly and in a timely fashion it recognizes their importance and heightens the quality of your establishment.
Recently my wife, a friend and I entered a restaurant in Bellingham Wa. The hostess was on the phone she did not look up she did not acknowledge that we were there. It is important that you hire people and teach them to acknowledge other customers waiting than focus their sole attention on just the one in front of them.

What made matters worse the manager and a second hostess was standing near by chatting to themselves. It was four to six minutes before the second hostess approached us. The manager walked behind the desk and stood by saying nothing doing nothing. The second hostess picked up three menus but did not direct us to a table. She stood by waiting for the first hostess to finish her phone conversation.

I began my restaurant career working for KFC it was a drive in ( yes carhops) and take out; not only did we serve chicken we had, hot dogs and hamburgers too. Here is what we taught our staff when dealing with a customer if you cannot speak to the customer in line make sure you make eye contact or at the very least look their way.

Our service was to minutes per customer in the takeout so if we had three customers in line The first customer must be served within two minutes the second within four and the third within six. Now if we have five customers in line, no not ten minutes that is far too long the service time now was 5 times one minute thirty seconds.

How is this possible by using proper staffing and training. We now have two people  greeting and serving  the customers. There is also an  increase in kitchen staffing. Its simple to acknowledge the importance of the customer by greeting them.

Going back to the Bellingham restaurant. We experienced another wait before our waitress made her way to our table This is quite unacceptable. Here was a second chance to greet the customer properly lost. I have found the same problem at tasting room the inability of the host to acknowledge newly arrived guests. I have even stood alone in a tasting room for over fifteen minutes. Did you notice I was gone.

On another note just the other day I mentioned to a winery owner that when I visited  his winery it was closed on a day he was normally open. He just slugged his shoulder. Sorry I will not return nor buy your wines.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Night at the Operetta

Saturday a busy night on the streets of Vancouver. A Bob Seger concert, a Whitecaps football (soccer) game and the Operetta. Add in the usual Saturday nigh crowds and you had a traffic jam. Our objective was the parking lot of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. We were going to the Operetta Die Fledermaus.

Prior to the performance six of us would be dinning at Lupo Hamilton St, Vancouver. As the traffic stalled we let the ladies out and crawled our way the nearest parking lot. Where we paid $25.00 to park twice the normal rate been a EVENT night ( is that not price gouging?).

From the parking lot the men walked to the restaurant It was a warm and splendid evening. The ladies by now were seated at Lupo enjoying a glass of wine. We entered the restaurant and quickly greeted. I told the host we were with the Bell party.. she had to go and look it up unaware she had previously seated the ladies just moments before.

The room she lead us to was blah to say the least. Lupo's describes their location as a charming delightful heritage home. I beg to differ.

Our waiter was difficult to hear over the noise. He chose to stand at one end of the table rather than move about the table. His accent was difficult to interrupt as well. But the menu very simple full of sea food dishes and averaged $26.00 a plate. Very thing and I do mean everything was priced separate. An order of bread was $4.00. I'm surprised there was no charge for water.

The wine was good a Riesling from Joiefarms wine in the Naramata region of BC. My meal Penne Bolognese made Chef Boyardee look good. The portions for meals averaging $26.00 extremely small I actually left the restaurant feeling hungry and angry at the over all pricing..

I could pick Lupo apart with other minor details that were lacking from a fine dinning establishment but I think you feel my frustration.

It was on to Die Fledermaus for a very enjoyable performance.

On Monday we had our own dinner party serving pork ribs and some very good BC wines from Pacific Breeze and Blackwood Lane.