Can you see me??!?!??!

Saturday, 18 February 2006

Why should a customer have to do anything to get attention?

Wow. I just read a post by Matt over at 37 Signals who suggested that restaurants should have a little box on the end of each table where diners can raise a flag when they want attention. AKA Restaurant Flagging.
Flag up = I’m ready for the check, need more water, etc. Flag down = Everything’s copacetic.

Apart from enjoying the slightly unnecessary use of a big word, I also enjoyed reading through the various responses. Some themes popped out.

Some diners make use of what they have around them to work with the wait staff:

Or, make use of an additional widget to do the same:

There were also a few bizarro-techo-gadgety 'solutions' suggested:

Can you tell that I like the approach of actually just engaging with the person who's looking after you?

I've had many, many conversations with dining companions about waiters over the years. I remember a Thai place in Adelaide where the food was pretty good, but everyone really loved the place because the Maitre'D was a camp, sarcastic asshole.

"Ah, but who do you ask if you can’t find anybody?" poor Gayle asks.

Gayle, Gayle, Gayle... I could use that word that starts with "R" and rhymes with unguarded. But, The answer is, you look inside your deepest self, and find patience. Not everyone's watches are set to you. Don't you see that if you approach someone saying "Where the hell have you been?", or roll your eyes at them when they approach that they might be a little hesitant to provide you with unadulterated, outstanding service?

I don't want a dining experience that reminds me of a production line, or a trough, or something that I need to fight my way through, defeating the service people in my way. When I eat out, I like to take my time, and sure, if the plates stay around a little too long I might call over a waiter, but really, I'm there for the company, the food, the ambience, and not doing dishes.

That said, of course, there is such a thing as bad service. This type of service would not be helped with a flaggy thingy on your table. It will just be bad service. You don't need to sue anyone. Just don't spend your money on it again.

Enough with the me, me, me. And saying "May I please have" instead of "Can I get" or "I'll take" might be nice as well. So there.

(Note: Make sure you pronounce "May I please have" clearly. It's apparently quite hard to understand.)

Posted at 1:20 am

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