HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO A POSH RESTAURANT TO BE MET BY A WAITER WHO MAKES A BIG DEAL OF GREETING YOU, PULLING A CHAIR FOR YOU, SHAKING OUT A NAPKIN WITH A FLOURISH BEFORE CAREFULLY PLACING IT IN YOUR LAP AND WHEEDLING "WOULD MADAM CARE TO LOOK AT THE MENU?"
Or perhaps you’ve experienced the Parisian model where some waiters barely make eye contact and are so underwhelmed by your presence that you almost feel you should apologise for making their establishment look untidy?
Neither of those are great models for outstanding service. Obsequious staff make for an uncomfortable dining experience that often masks indifferent food. And waiters that make you feel like you’re not good enough for their establishment should have become extinct several millennia ago.
Excellent service is memorable, and it’s often the small things that we notice and remember. As with life generally, a lovely smile from a stranger is a precious thing and can really give you a lift. If people look like they’re pleased to see you, you’re much more likely to go back for more.
And great service can be quite subtle. So it’s lovely when your waiter takes the time to talk you through the menu — but doesn’t it jar a little if the narrative comes out parrot-fashion without departing from the script? Or if they say their piece but they then look blank when you ask a question? It feels unnatural, like they don’t really mean it, and demonstrates there’s no buy in.
On the other hand, when the explanation goes off script, when they illustrate their narrative with examples, give it colour and — best of all — demonstrate that they have experienced what they’re talking about, that’s a really great sign. It shows that the waiters buy into the passion of the chef; it shows a team working together to produce something special; and it’s an example of waiters as real ambassadors of their company.
At Eurest, we strive for this kind of service — the kind that remembers your name, knows what’s on the menu and can tell you all about it as part of an unscripted, natural conversation. We might not be all of those things all the time but these are examples of the touches that make our service memorable — it’s about revealing the passion.