A friend the other day was throwing out suggestions about where we should eat and mentioned “Tao” (Midtown NYC). I said no way, I don’t eat there anymore. Do I like the food there? Sure, they have great vegetable egg rolls and a few other veggie dishes I like. Drinks are good too. You know what, though, that doesn’t make up for the way their host staff treated me (and others) on not one, but two occassions. I will admit this was a long while ago, so I don’t know if things have improved. It did, however, spark this post about how service makes a difference at a restaurant.
I always make reservations when going to restaurants (when restaurants take them). I do it on opentable.com and if the time I want isn’t available, I usually won’t eat there. Anyway, on two separate occassions, just a few months apart, I made reservations at Tao. Both times I was required to wait between 45 minutes to an hour past my reservation time. That is bad enough. I fully admit I hate waiting more than 15 minutes past my reservation time. 99.9% of restaurants will seat you within 15 minutes, but not Tao. What has made the situation worse, though, is that the host staff has been so rude about it. They act like they are doing you a favor to even let you stand in their restaurant. Oh & did I mention how crowded the bar area is? Standing isn’t fun there! I saw how they were treating other people who were also asking about their reservations and it wasn’t nice either. You know when you go to the hottest club in town and the bouncer acts like he is doing you a favor to let you wait out in the freezing cold for an hour, before allowing you the honor of going inside. Yep, that’s how the hosts and hostesses at Tao have treated me. After my last visit there I actually emailed management to let them know about the two incidents. Guess what? I never heard back. That just let me think that was acceptable behavior and that my dears is why I’ve never been back. Again this was awhile ago, so maybe things have changed. It still is a story worth telling because service speaks so much.
The importance of service actually came up last night as my hubby and I strolled back from 5 Napkin Burger in Hell’s Kitchen. We introduced a couple friends to 5 Napkin Burger last night. As usual we arrived at our reservation time, were greated with friendly smiles and seated immediately. The waiter was great, the managers were great, etc. etc. The hostess gave us a friendly smile and said goodbye when we were leaving. That just got us to talking about how important service is. Sure I love the veggie burger at 5 Napkin, but the great service is probably what truly keeps us going back so much.
It’s really something for all of us to think about. If you are treated rudely at a restaurant the only way you can take a stand is by not returning. The same goes for good service. If you get good service (and the food is decent), show restaurants your love by returning there. As customers this is our way of helping the restaurants with good service rise to the top!