There is nothing I enjoy more than spending time with family and sharing great experiences. Recently, my older brother was home for a few days and we got together one night along with my father for a bite to eat. My brother has been living out of state for about 10+ years and has no idea where to get a meal when he visits home. My father is very accommodating so I am making the dinner choice for the night. I make the suggestion and we are off to one of our local sports bar.
It is a Thursday night during football season approximately 9:45pm. When we arrive, there are 3 of 30 tables occupied and every seat at the bar is occupied. We seat ourselves(standard at 90+% of sports bars). There are 2 waitresses for the now 4 tables. Our waitress now comes over and says “Can I start you off with any drinks?” No introduction, no welcome to our watering hole, just “Can I start you off with any drinks?” So we order drinks and as she scurries away we remind her that we will be eating and need menus. She returned fairly quickly with our drinks and menus. She encourages us to look over the menus and she will return in a few minutes. She was back very quickly to now take our food order. The food was served in less than 10 minutes. Wonderful! Now keep in mind this is a sports bar. As far as the quality of the food goes, I was expecting your average tasting bar food. I was correct. The food was average tasting. We ate our food, finished our drinks, and waited for her return. She came back with our check. She never offered more drinks or asked us how things were. I definitely wanted more drinks. I graduated from one of the biggest party schools in the BIG10. More drinks for me is like more cake for a fat kid. Just ask, I’m more than willing to increase my expenditures for another 3 or 4 rounds. If I was waiting tables I would try to get my guests as sauced up as possible; maybe they would, in their drunken state, leave me a fifty dollar tip.
Now I’m curious. So I ask when is closing time? “Usually when things slow down.” At this point it was approximately 11pm and you could tell she wanted out of there. So we pay the waitress. She says thanks and have a good evening.
My brother asks, “How much do we tip?” I tell him we shouldn’t tip at all. She didn’t do anything worthy of a tip. She never attempted to make us feel welcome. She never even brought us water.
Here is the deal. Our waitress had all the opportunity to make our visit a memorable one. She could have introduced herself, given us very personal service, or even taken the time to offer us more drinks. But instead she was more interested in what she was getting into that night after work, or how long she had to study for her mid-term exam. Maybe she thought these three guys look like cheapos, they won’t tip very well.
My wife waited table for three years after my youngest daughter was born. I have heard “They work for tips” probably a thousand times. So I definitely understand that waiters/waitresses make next to nothing without tips. That being said, exceptional service can only be given when we give service unto others as you would want to be served.
When a customer feels that your main concern as a customer service provider is their experience being a memorable one for all the right reasons, that is what makes an exceptional customer experience.
This was obviously not a good experience for me. I will, however, give this local sports bar another chance sometime in the future. I don’t know when, and I don’t know for what reason but they will have another opportunity to WOW me with a great experience.