For many restaurant guests the dining experience is simple. You order your meal, you enjoy your experience at the venue, you eat your dish, you pay your bill and then you go home and either leave a positive review on the internet or tell a friend about your experience.
Occasionally, you may discover that things didn’t live up to what you expected. Perhaps your food wasn’t cooked as you expected, maybe you didn’t receive what you ordered or perhaps there was an additional item on the bill that wasn’t meant to be there.
The logical thing to do is to speak to your server and let them come to a solution that is fair to all parties involved.
The restaurant gets the chance to make amends and still receives a positive review, while the customer gets some kind of compensation for the error. Maybe their dish is remade, perhaps they get some money off or maybe they get a discount on their next visit.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go that way, and customers can sometimes be unkind, even rude and disrespectful - whether because they feel compelled to make a scene or because they are simply ‘having a bad day’.
Rather than keeping their anger to themselves and approaching any mistakes (which do happen, and they happen in any walk of life) in a calm way, they choose to express their anger with their server.
Dealing with the stresses of COVID-19 and the current situation makes these interactions even more difficult for restaurant staff.
In fact, the owners of Apollo Grill, a restaurant based in Ontario, Canada, were forced to post a public statement recently after a string of hostile incidents directed towards their hardworking employees.
The Facebook post reads:
“WE HAVE REACHED OUR BREAKING POINT.
It’s unfortunate that we have felt the need to make this post. We had been thinking of saying something about it for quite some time now but were hoping everyone would adjust to these uncertain times and it would settle down, but unfortunately that’s not the case. After several recent incidents we feel the need to publicly state this:
Most of our customers are wonderful! The majority are pleasant, appreciative, loyal and patient. And for that we are extremely grateful! But unfortunately all it takes is one rude customer to ruin a server’s day. The amount of times we have had a server in tears during her shift is absolutely unacceptable….
We are known for our friendly staff and have even won awards for best SERVICE in Peterborough! If you are unable to treat our staff with respect, we ask you to please stay home. Such behaviour will result in you being no longer welcome in either of our stores. Thank you to those who are understanding and are a pleasure to serve; remember a little kindness goes a long way, especially during these times!
Dan & Kerry”
This is not OK.
Shouting, name calling, harassment and hostile behaviour in general is an aspect of the job that servers are learning to deal with - but they shouldn’t have to be. There is no situation or time that would make this behaviour towards staff members acceptable.
As a member of the hospitality industry, here at Sculpture Hospitality we deeply care about the success and wellbeing of the employees that work within it. That’s why we are writing this blog - a call to action to all hospitality customers.
Please be kind to servers. They are working hard to provide you with experiences that you’ll enjoy, and maybe now and again there will be mistakes, but treating people with kindness and respect is more important now than ever.
If you are the owner or manager of a restaurant, bar or other hospitality and would like to find out how we can support your operation, please feel free to reach out to Sculpture Hospitality today. Our team of experienced hospitality experts are always on hand to answer any questions that you may have.