Australia customer service

How Not to Get Service Down Under

On occasion, I’m asked if a friend/colleague/acquaintance/”state your name” can guest post a recent customer service experience. I wish there were more offers of good experiences than bad but those are the ones that seem to leave the biggest impression. This week’s Upsell is from Ian from Melbourne, Australia. Yes, we haven’t cornered the market on bad service.

We had a booking for four and, upon arrival and a luke warm greeting from  the host, my wife and I were seated to await the other two of our party.

We asked for some water and I was most surprised when the waiter leaned across, in front of my wife, to pour my glass. This, it seems, is standard at Va Tutto though not in any other fine dining restaurant that I have been to.

When the other two of our party arrived, we ordered some wine and a beer. Yet again the glasses were poured from one point while the waiter poured over the table.

(Strike ONE)

Time to order and yet again I was surprised to this time see that the waiter was chewing gum continuously. This is unacceptable and you wouldn’t even see this in a McDonalds restaurant let alone a fine dining one.

My sister and brother-in-law made their meal orders and, while my wife was deciding on her order, I went to give mine. Unfortunately, we weren’t worthy of our waiters attention as she was too busy gazing over her shoulder gazing into space while I was left talking to myself. Finally,  she decided to give us her attention and we finished our order. All the time chew, chew, chew. Nice.

(Strike TWO)

Against convention, our in-laws’ plates were cleared before my wife and I had finished our entrée. This was an annoyance but not as much as when our mains arrived while we were still eating. Noticing my amazement, the chewer admitted that she hadn’t even looked to see if we had finished and kindly offered to keep them warm under the heat lamps until we had finished. There is no way that I would let our fellow diners suffer through eating a meal that had been left sitting under heat lamps for any length of time so I told her to take the entrée plate and leave the mains.

(Strike THREE)

On top of this, my Pork left a lot to be desired. I would have mentioned this to any waiter who cared to ask or even come near us though we were left alone until the plates were cleared. Even though my meal was left unfinished no one cared to ask. By this point I was beyond caring and it was too late to fix anyway.

(Strike FOUR…yes, strike four)

I was asked by my mother in law how dinner was, as it was my in laws who bought us the vouchers because they recommend Va Tutto. I’m not sure who was more embarrassed but I know I didn’t enjoy telling her about our night.

Sadly, I’m noticing more and more that staff don’t seem to understand they have a job to do. In Australia, it isn’t customary to tip…do you think that impacts service? Am I too hopeful that some type of work ethic should exist?

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