Observations While Dining Out

We were having a very nice night out. I was surprised that we were able to get a table so quickly during the holiday season here in tax-free (and therefore shopper-mobbed) Delaware. Our server was pleasant, sincere, attentive but not too much so, and best of all, thoughtful.

There was some conversation at the table about whether “the economy” is to blame for being able to get seated quickly, as we waited for our drinks. When the foyer became crowded only a few minutes after we’d sat down, we decided it wasn’t the economy but our own timing (maybe we got in just before the closest mall closed), and the discussion moved on. The drinks came, our server promised to be right back to take our order, and…


More precisely, nothing you could put your finger on, at least not for a while. She went from attentive to not-so-much, or were we too involved in conversation to appreciate her? Coming “right back” didn’t exactly happen. Getting our appetizers didn’t exactly go smoothly. Mind you, the meal and the service wasn’t terrible, but when it had begun so well, it certainly seemed like a big contrast. We were working to distract each other from commenting about the downward trend things were taking. Not so much fun.

In the end we didn’t have to put our finger on what had gone sour. When the coffee arrived twelve minutes (who’s counting?) after dessert, right about the time when I’d decided to get up and seek a host to take the coffee off the bill and get us a check, our server gave us a flash of the sincerity she’d had earlier in the evening.

“So sorry. I asked another girl to bring this out a few minutes ago. Since I got that table of 16, I’ve been running around like crazy.”


The confession was all right… I guess. Better than nothing. But of course, dear reader, you can see that the time to realize she had an overwhelm issue was thirty minutes earlier, at least, and the time to confess is never, because she either needed to hand us off to someone less busy or hand the 16-top off to someone else, since she was busy with us and several other tables near us, which also became woefully neglected when the big table walked in.


Then there would have been nothing to confess to, because we measly smaller tables would have been treated as well as her big catch, by her or by someone else.

(Note to servers: From my many years of restaurant experience on the inside and the outside, I can tell you that big tables aren’t where the tips are anyway. Though after treating our table like second class citizens, maybe their tip looked better…)

Want to Maximize your business? (Of course!)

Whether you’re waiting a table, serving a client through your online channels, or putting together orders in your shop, treat ‘em all like a 16-top.


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson