restaurant gratuity

Milestones: Divided Does Not Mean Conquered

It’s the New Year and new customer service experiences.  To kick off 2010, my friend has written the following guest blog regarding her recent experience at Milestone’s in Victoria.

A birthday meal for a co-worker is usually a reason for celebration, and that it should be; another year older (….ahem, wiser) and a great excuse for a drink with friends.  I don’t spend much time with my co-workers outside of work and, like many people, I have been frugal in my choices of entertainment spending over the past year so I was looking forward to a meal out with friends.

The Experience
When we arrived, we were seated at a long grouping of tables but we had an additional two people so they broke our table into 2 groups side-by-side. Not a problem, our fault for not reserving for enough people. Half of our group was given one server (Server A) and the other half was given another (Server B). Most of the time this wouldn’t be a problem, two servers working together isn’t a hard task… right????

While waiting for our drinks, a big group showed up and were seated at a large table behind us. Our drinks came and the waiters started getting our food orders.

Fifteen minutes later, Server A brings out the food for table one and we at table two started to drool with envy over the delicious food that was being served. The drooling continued – table two food would take another 30 minutes to arrive because our servers had put our orders in as separate tables and the big group of kids got their order in right between us.

We were still waiting for our food while the other half of our group was having their plates removed. At this point,  we were a little cheesed about the whole thing (and our stomachs at table 2 were starting to eat themselves) so we flagged the manager and asked her why half our group was already done their meals and we don’t have our food. Her response -She the gets within six inches of his face and tells him, “If it was empty, we could have a one-on-one but it’s not” and then proceeds to tell him to take it up with his server.

Now I’m all for the server being accountable but to tell the customer to take it up with the server when you are the manager seems a little off to me.

We did finally get our food and the place did start to slow down, but the manager never came back on her own accord to address our concerns. Instead, we had a 15% gratuity slapped on our bills for service that wasn’t even close to good. Thankfully, I have another very assertive co-worker who said “no way!” to the service tax and, after talking to the manager again, we were all allowed to tip what we felt was fair.

When it comes to tipping, I’ll give 15% for good service, 20%+ for stellar, amazing service but I will not give 15% for getting my food 30 minutes after my friends or being talked down to by management when we complained. In the end I gave the girl 10% because, well, I’m a softy and she was shaking like a leaf when she brought us the bills.

The Conclusion:

2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance.  Aside from the crap service the food was great, the Bellini’s even better, and I would probably give it a 2nd chance. I would not book a large group there however, at least until the staff have taken some team-building classes. Even though the servers both had a separate table, they were serving a group and should have worked together in placing drink and food orders and making sure we had good service.


Service Rating System:

Friend Zone – I just don’t like you in “that way.”
Booty Call – If I don’t have anything else better going on, I’ll stop by.
2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance.
Going steady – This could be the beginning of something major.The Tip:

 

The Tip:

The tip this week is really about Elishia’s experience.  I can’t begin to tell you how many things are wrong with this.  But let me try.
A) Even by adding 2 unexpected people for a table of 18 AND even if you have to split that party into two tables…there is no way that should have been shared by two servers.  If they can’t handle a party of 18 for a busy lunch, what a great way to finally learn.
B) I completely understand getting a table in after a large party.  Absolutely.  It happens.  BUT to have half your table stuck behind a large party is redonculous.  That is the fault of the two servers for not communicating with each other and not communicating with the kitchen.  Booooo.
C) Tips.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, adding a mandatory gratuity to a party is not appropriate.  And in this case, the servers should have known well enough that the experience wasn’t going well and should have spoken with the manager to not include the auto-tip.  Tell the table you understand there were some problems and have removed the gratuity due to the challenges.  You’ll be surprised how understanding tables are.  They’ll at least hate you less.

1 thought on “Milestones: Divided Does Not Mean Conquered”

  1. Elishia summed up this experience perfectly: I was happy they finally brought back my fav pasta dish-tho with no olives and different cheese (still good tho). I ended up tipping about 10% too because I felt so freaking bad for the poor server, because this experience was really a reflection on the manager. If she treats customers like this, what about employees??

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