Attracting the waiter’s attention

Breaking a Habit

The Beverage Standards Association brings you Peter’s Monday 25th October 2021 Weekly Briefing every Tuesday morning.

Monday, 25th October 2021 Weekly Briefing
Attracting the waiter’s attention

You know how frustrating it is when you want to attract the waiter’s attention – you wave your hand, you mutter (not too loud otherwise the people on neighbouring tables will hear) “I’m here!”. That happened to me last week in a pub, part of an upmarket chain, in the western outskirts of London. I arrived a few minutes before my lunch companion and so I had a brief chat with the waitress. She seemed friendly enough and in answer to one of my questions, she observed that “after covid, some guests are quite rude”.

Empty tables

I should have taken that as a clue. Anyway, a quarter of an hour later, of the 25 tables or so tables, 23 were empty – and there was a total of almost five guests. So, it wasn’t busy. And there were two waiting staff and a barman at the bar – a generous staff to guest ratio. We were ready to place our order. I waved (“I’m here. I’m here ready to place my order”). Finally, after what seemed enough time to pour a pint or two, I was spotted. In a spirit of what I intended to be helpful feedback I pointed out to the waitress that I had to wave for about a minute and a half before I was noticed (this would be a useful KPI to measure I thought). The response: “I came over as soon as I saw you”. “Well”, I said “that’s true but it’s not what I wanted to convey”. I went on, musing out loud: “How can I say this without upsetting you?”. She said: “I’m already upset”. So, suddenly I’m the one who’s at fault.

Drinks on the house?

At that point, my lunch companion, a seasoned industry veteran, said “I think we should leave”. So we did with the words of the waitress, that our drinks were on the house, ringing in our ears.

Thank you for reading part of the Monday 25th October 2021 Weekly Briefing. A full edition can be found here.

Peters Monthly Report for September 2021 is now available here.

Peter provides consultancy on the eating out market and opens eyes to brand new ways of thinking about the sector and its multiple opportunities for success.

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