service please

I’ve taken my time getting around to writing this, but it’s only a few days delayed, so I suppose it’s alright.

The other day I had lunch at Hatch & Co. in Garden City, and, to cut straight to the chase, the service there was amazing. It helped that the food was good too. Definitely going back there again some time!

Having worked in the service industry (in some capacity) for about half of my life now, I understand and appreciate the importance of good service. I reckon I’m more inclined to become a regular at a restaurant with average food but excellent service, than at a place with average service but spectacular food. The friendliness and attentiveness of the staff do a lot for the atmosphere and the vibe of a place.

The only problem, which I suppose is not really a problem, was that I was waiting at their “Please wait to be seated sign” for a while (probably not that long, but I was kind of hungry so that might’ve affected my perception of time), and no one came to seat me. I got a table soon enough, but the reason I said that it’s “not really a problem” is because I also don’t like when you’re just having a quick look at the display menu (often near the “wait to be seated sign”), and you haven’t decided either for or against eating at that particular place, and someone comes up to you (probably while you’re still reading through entrees) and asks if you’d like a table! (Sorry, that was a bit of a convoluted explanation…)

Anyway, everything else was fine – and by fine, I mean perfect. They were polite, they smiled, they took my order promptly, they gave me a glass of water without me needing to ask (and even though I ordered a drink as well), they cleared away dishes in a timely manner, and they kindly enquired about how everything was at some point appropriately in the middle of my meal (it kind of annoys me when people ask how the food is when I’ve only just started eating – or worse, if I haven’t even started eating yet).

What really impressed me – what was the cherry on the proverbial cake was that the waitress who brought the bill to my table told me that I was welcome to stay as long as I wanted. This, in particular, really impressed me because I’ve never had that happen before. Usually they subtly hint that you might want to leave (e.g. by packing up the tables/chairs around you – although this is probably fair enough if you’ve hung around until their closing time) or they don’t say anything at all, and you kind of have to guess if they care about you loitering or not.

I’ve worked in a restaurant before (as a waitress and kitchenhand) but I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about it from the workers’s/business’ perspective. I mean, if you’re working at a restaurant, and people are finished eating, paid their bill, but are just hanging around to chat, you kind of don’t need to really serve them any more, so it’s less work, right? However, it also means that they’re taking up tables that other customers (potentially tipping customers) could come in to use, so you might be losing out. Similarly, from a business perspective, you probably want the place to look full or near capacity, so you probably wouldn’t mind people sticking around unless you desperately needed to usher more customers in – right?

I feel like I’m starting to go off on a tangent…

Hatch & Co. probably weren’t even half-full at the time when I was there, so I’m not sure if this impacted on their offer to let me linger a bit, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t let my overthinking taint this positive experience.

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3 thoughts on “service please

  1. That’s what I enjoyed about having meals in France. The table is yours for the evening. They won’t even bring you the check unless you ask.

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