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Service in non-busy establishments


MattJohnson
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The other empty restaurant thread (from a business owner's perspective) made me think of this and I didn't want to derail it so I'll ask here.

I've noticed that often times, when I dine in an non-busy restaurant, the service sucks. Things are slow, servers aren't very attentive. Why is that? Is it because when its slow, people don't do much mise? Short staffed? Oven not on?

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The other empty restaurant thread (from a business owner's perspective) made me think of this and I didn't want to derail it so I'll ask here.

I've noticed that often times, when I dine in an non-busy restaurant, the service sucks.  Things are slow, servers aren't very attentive.  Why is that?  Is it because when its slow, people don't do much mise?  Short staffed?  Oven not on?

I agree 100%. A slow night at just about any type of place often results in crappy service.

The resaurant business thrives on a fast pace and controlled chaos.

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I think when you're not busy enough, you don't get a rhythm going. And, it's harder to guess when to go back to a table than to keep walking by it on the way to something else. Also, sometimes staff are told to use that kind of time to finish a checklist of other stuff.

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I think when you're not busy enough, you don't get a rhythm going. And, it's harder to guess when to go back to a table than to keep walking by it on the way to something else. Also, sometimes staff are told to use that kind of time to finish a checklist of other stuff.

As a professional server, I say if you can't do it slow, you shouldn't try to do it fast. A positive externality of a slow night in a restaurant is more time to devote to sidework, sure, but the guest comes first and there is no room for conflict of interest there.

Though it can be awkward when there are more staff than guests in a dining room, it's our job to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome at all times. (The old saw about anticipation comes to mind. Why "guess" when to visit a table?) There's a lot of gray area between standing/leaning around, polishing listlessly, staring off into space for want of Something To Do and being so far into the weeds that you can either go out there and try some triage or hide in the waitstation and cry. I say why not explore that? Slow nights are a good time to learn how to access the chill vibe that will keep you sane during the busy nights.

The protracted decline of service saddens me.

"What was good enough yesterday may not be good enough today." - Thomas Keller

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As a cook on a slow night, you cant just stand around, and your given other projects wether it be prep, deep cleaning projects, or organization and inventory. Alot of times this can get in the way of the "rythem" that you get into on a Friday or Saturday night and you feel outta whack so to say, and the product that you put out might tend to suffer.

"Its never to late to be what you might have been" - George Elliot

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