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Does the service industry really exist only to serve?

Did you see that we were trendng no. 1 in South Africa with our awesome game #foodpickuplines? Check it out, it's tea-snortingly funny.

16 Feb 2012

Well, didn’t we all have fun with our anonymous restaurateur last week? The article ‘Why I hate Valentine’s Day’ was our top read and our highest number of comments, tweets, likes, dislikes which suggests to us that there is a bit of a gap between customers and the people who cook for them.

We’ve seen this before – rants from both sides. From restaurateurs who are just over “bad” customers (and boy check out the comments on this one!) and chefs who are fed up with outrageous requests (whew... comments really hotting up here...) to the reader reviews we get in every day.  From both sides some of them are downright amusing and right on the money and others could be classed as pure ranting. Nevertheless, it’s clear that there are 2 sides to this story.  

Often when I eat out, I can spot someone believing that ‘Customer is King’ should be interpreted as ‘get down on your knees and kiss my feet’ – the guy clicking his fingers at the waiter, sending back his plate because it has a parsley garnish and he said no veggies (yes really) or complaining that his glass of wine isn’t full to the absolute brim (a favourite of Wine Ed, Cathy’s from her restaurant-owning days).

Whilst I appreciate you pay good money to eat out and in return you expect a minimum of good food and service (I am a customer first and foremost) there does seem to be a breed of people who rub even the most patient of restaurateurs the wrong way.

So I want to know – does service mean that restaurants are there to serve and should therefore be servile and accommodate every single whim of their customers, or does it mean that the actual function of a restaurant is literally to plate up and carry out food? Because this seems to be the real difference and certainly accounts for so many opposing views to our anonymous restaurateur article.

We’d like to know what you think – is the customer always right and does the money we pay in a restaurant entitle us to have whatever we want or should customers accept that restaurateurs and waiters are human and make mistakes like the rest of us?

And – because we’re evil like this – we also want to know the best (worst) bad behaviour you’ve ever come across in a restaurant situation. C’mon – we know loads of you have been waiters and waitresses, chefs and restaurateurs or just observant customers – what’s the absolute most shocking thing you’re ever seen a customer/waiter/manager/owner do? There’s a R250 kalahari voucher up for the grabs for the most outrageous story so spill the beans and make it a good one!


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