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The Great Debates The State of
Service in our
Restaurants



Reader Feedback:

As a final year student hotel and catering management student at Dublin Institute of technology, Ireland, i would like to express my opinion regarding Jack Mauro's service article on the reasons for the decline in restaurant service standards.

I am appalled (but not surprised!!!) at the opinions expressed by this so called professional. He is typical of the Old-Brigade in that he cannot accept that right now our industry is undergoing phenomenal change, and the autocratic, ill-tempered work environment of the past no longer has any respectful place in society.

When he says "the error other businesses make when they ride the societal tide of humanizing corporate life, and end up accomplishing nothing but the creation of a rather lazy work force bursting with self-esteem and an astronomical assessment of its own merits. It's the sad horror of believing you will get more by giving more," he clearly demonstrates his resentment of the fact that a new youthful generation are taking the industry in a new direction, a direction that it needs to go in order to survive, the direction of humanization. It's a PEOPLE industry for Christ's sake (people servers, people customers!!!), how the hell can 'humanizing' it be detrimental? Is self-esteem a bad thing? On what basis does he link self-esteem to laziness and the decline of service standards? You DO get more by giving more to the people that matter - your staff - who then give more to the people that matter the most - the customers. Would Mr Mauro prefer that we return to using FEAR, the most effective management tool of his peers?

His comments about

"You now allow room for individual concerns and needs waiters in the past dealt with by themselves, because you have been encouraged to view your staff as other businesses see their own people. You try to not bully anymore."

Does Mr Mauro see any benefits in 'BULLYING'???!!!! Ignoring the needs and concerns of staff is just the same ignorant attitude that the hospitality industry in Ireland has employed for years, and now finds itself in the middle of the biggest labour shortage in it's history. How dare he try and promote a return to working environment where fat bullies in tuxedos ran restaurants like army training camps. How can he have the audacity to insinuate that having concern for the esteem of your staff is actually going to benefit customers!!!

Mr Mauro epitomizes everything that is still rotten about our industry. I am not ashamed to say that I am a damn good waiter, and that doesn't mean that I ignore the needs of my customers, it just means that I have the confidence to experiment with new techniques and approaches aimed at improving their dining experience. It is up to us, the youth, to take our business into the new millennium, rather than leave it in the dark ages along with Jack Mauro and his ilk.

Thanking you sincerely,
Mark Paul


**Next Post

Thank you for forwarding Mauro's information on waiters. I have seen a "entitled" attitude amongst the servers of this generation. It has frustrated many of our management team. I am forwarding his note to our dining room manager. It always encouraging to hear what you feel from someone else. Not that it is always the case. We do have some employees who understand the goals of the restaurant as a whole, rather than just how many covers are on the books that night.

Take care,
Faith Sweeten
Salt Lake City, UT


**Next Post

When I first started waitressing back in the '60's, before we were ever allowed to take a table, we were trained! Imagine that -- training. We weren't allowed to puck a glass up by its rim -- only by the sides. Today, when I go into a restaurant and the server picks up my glass by its rim and sets it down in front of me, I immediately ask for a straw. Perhaps I shouldn't. Perhaps I should point out to him/her that I want another glass and explain why. Do you think they would get it?

And when they ask you, "Can I get you anything else?" I am confused. What do they mean? I don't know (as a customer) whether I need anything else or not! But ask me if I need another napkin. Ask me if I would like more water (or at least SOME water since it seems to be a rare comodity in restaurants today). Ask me if I would like salsa with my eggs. I wouldn't have thought of it, of course, until you got all the way back to the kitchen and then I wouldn't see you again for ten minutes!!!! Whew. Good help is hard to find!

And could you clean your fingernails please? And could you take that stupid jewelry out of your mouth and eyebrows?

Also, the customer is not there for the benefit of the server. The server is there for the benefit of the customer. Or am I confused?

Kerry


**Next Post

My name is Dee Mason, I have been in the restaurant business for over 25 years. This topic touched my heart. My husband also is in the business. Combined we have put in 50 years. We often talk of opening a school for servers, a school like no other. It would be a restaurant setting open to the public with "real " on the job training. My husband has already copyrighted a unique order form for servers that will revolutionize the ordering process and is selling them to local restaurants here in Baltimore. We met in a restaurant 30 years ago he was a waiter and I, a hostess. It was called "the Pimlico Hotel" and service was the charm of this restaurant. Older well seasoned servers. The downfall of service came when trendy cafes started hiring upbeat kids who squatted down next to you as to tie your shoes...ugh! Then proceed to rattle off the daily specials along with some tidbit about his personal life.


**Next Post

I agree with your article. mostly!!

Yes the quality of service offered by the majority of establishments is pretty poor and it isn't getting any better!!

Yes it is our fault.

Yes being a nice guy won't work

We can fix it but we don't have to be much different than we already are.

I employ over 300 staff and they all have one thing in common. Each and every one of my staff know exactly what they have to do to become a valuable part of the team. Being valuable means taking responsibility for themselves, their actions and being good at what they are employed to do.

This is achieved by being honest with them. I do not turn a blind eye to any of their actions. Good or bad. I am totally honest and if they do something wrong I let them know (not in an unkind way) and I also show them how to fix the problem. It is my experience that most of these kids don't know any better and common sense ceased production several years ago.

I believe in all my staff. That may be the difference.

Look to their potential

I was in the USA last year and the level of service was shocking. Australia has the same problem. But it won't go away unless we do something about it.

Look not only at what the corporate regimes tell us to do but at what they are actually doing. Most of them look at empowerment as a form of "management by abdication". I find that by giving responsibility and accountability with a helping hand my staff come out well in front of the competition. But it takes work.

Maybe you need to look at what you are putting into your business. If you don't tell your staff what you want how can they deliver? If you don't have any faith in their abilities how will they. Teach them their craft and give them pride in what they do, you will be amazed at the results.

Hope it helps,

Regards,
Jerry Pinder

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