Article: “So much potential, so little success” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
"Aqua Bella can be operational and lively, but still a puzzle. Between the kitchen and all those rooms and patios, there often is a black hole into which servers disappear for far too long. At my first lunch months ago, a thin crowd of three tables strained the staff.

On recent trips, service has been good-natured and surprisingly quick.

Service should not be lackadaisical. Straighten that up, and we'll happily pay a prettier penny for fresh crab, scallops, shrimp and a view of the bay, good ol' Gulfport pleasures."

source: "So much potential, so little success" by Chris Sherman (St. Petersburg Times, Jun.8,2006)

WaiterBell Angle: Restaurants are fortunate that food critics are usually required to visit multiple times before writing their review. How forgiving will your customers be? A business should be careful about relying on the kindness of its customers to forgive and understand service and food issues.

Restaurant owners, especially for those just opening their business, should use proactive and backup measures to provide a consistent dining experience. Once a customer trusts your restaurant and waitstaff, they will be much more forgiving of any accidents.

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Blog Post: “Under Your Nose” (May 2006)

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excerpt:
"The bartender and waitstaff never checked on us, never offered us dinner, and never mentioned that the kitchen was closing. Again, we knew they were not serving outside so our expectations were tempered — but the country club restaurant and bar did not appear busy as the evening progressed.

Little did the management the country club know, but friends in our group are considering a membership…At $20,000 + dollars a year (for the membership fee only) how many people are going to consider this a good investment when they've been ignored by the waitstaff? A $100 night of bad service could cost this country club approximately $100,000 in membership fees over the next 5 years."

source: "Under Your Nose" by Laura S. (Local Store Marketing Community, May 23,2006)

WaiterBell Angle: This is another example of guests evaluating your restaurant customer service and how it can cost you money in ways beyond the actual food and drink bill. WaiterBell is an affordable service safety net system that prevents situations like the one above from occurring.

Article: “Take It Outside at D.C.’s Poste” (May 2006)

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excerpt:
"Instead of just setting out a dozen tables, as in years past, Taylor says, Poste's staff wanted to create "a place where people can come and relax — almost like an outdoor lounge."To create that vibe, Poste added a variety of cabana-style benches, couches, woven chairs with fabric cushions and a pair of seats that look like egg cups with slinky-style canopies.

…The problem is, after repeat visits, I'm still not sure how service works. Taylor tells me that half the terraced space is given over to dinner seating, while half is for people who just want drinks — which would be fine if I'd ever had a server approach my table and ask if I wanted a cocktail. Every time, I've gotten up, ordered a drink at the bar and came back outside. (I've seen waitresses taking orders from customers having dinner, though.)"

source: "Take It Outside at D.C.'s Poste" by Fritz Hahn (Washington Post, May 19,2006)

WaiterBell Angle: With the WaiterBell system, your guests are never unsure on how to get assistance. Envision this same reporter pressing a WaiterBell to have the waitstaff come by and assist him, then this review would not be commenting on the lack of service, but rather the waitstaff's helpfulness. Now imagine empowering your other customers, and WaiterBell's effect on their dining experiences.

Article: “For many, eating outside is in” (May 2006)

excerpt:
"The Central Ohio Restaurant Association doesn’t know how many restaurants offer alfresco dining, but Executive Director Gail Baker said outdoor meals are increasingly popular.

Indoor-smoking bans are one reason for more open-air dining areas, where smoking is allowed in some cases.

"Another reason is that people really do enjoy outdoor dining," Baker said. "Plus, . . . (restaurants) can add to the seating space in good weather, so that makes it popular to the restaurant owner, who can increase sales."

…Outdoor dining is important for Downtown as well as the city’s neighborhoods, he said.

"It plays a very important part in the perceived and the actual experience of living in an urban environment."

Craige Roberts, dining recently on Alana’s porch, touched on key essences of the alfresco dining experience.

"Fresh air provides a different kind of light. There’s the liveliness of the people.

"Fresh air is vastly underrated."

source: "For many, eating outside is in" by Bill Mayr (The Columbus Dispatch, May 11,2006)

WaiterBell Angle: Summer is here and restaurants everywhere are offering outdoor dining. How can you ensure consistent quality service for your customers eating outside? Provide them with a connection to the waitstaff on the inside with WaiterBell. Whether your guests want more wine to watch the sunset or dessert under the moon, WaiterBell helps your waitstaff provide prompt, timely service.

Article: “Restaurants refuse service over guide dogs” (Apr.2006)

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"According to Lee County Sheriff's reports, a restaurant employee told Jorgenson he could not be there with the 80-pound yellow Labrador and told him to leave. Jorgenson met with a deputy that night and filed a criminal complaint nearly two weeks later April 18.

"They were concerned about health violations, but it's a Seeing Eye dog, so where the owner goes, the dog goes," said sheriff's spokesman Angelo Vaughn.

"You feel like a second-class citizen, really," Jorgenson said Thursday. "It's really a form of discrimination."

Florida law allows guide dogs to be granted access anywhere the public is allowed, including restaurants, public transportation and shopping malls. Violating the law is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in county jail or six months probation and a $500 fine.

Guide dog access is also protected by federal laws stemming from the Americans With Disabilities Act" Read the rest of this entry »

Article: “Rooftop patios take Charlotte to higher level” (Apr.2006)

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"Currents Coastal Cuisine, a new upscale restaurant in Ballantyne, is the newest addition to the rooftop scene.

The view: Only open a few weeks, the restaurant's 36-seat rooftop patio already is popular. "It's a nice place for people to sit and relax while feeling as if they're up and away from everything," says general manager Mark Mueller.

The view isn't spectacular — it overlooks some busy roads and the parking lot of Lowe's Foods — but patrons seem to get a kick out of watching everyone below scurrying to complete their errands while they're above it all kicking back with a cool beverage."

source: "Rooftop patios take Charlotte to higher level" by Olivia Fortson (The Charlotte Observer, Apr.21, 2006)

WaiterBell Angle: Eating outside, whether it is on a patio, a pier, or on a roof, is a unique joy. As stated in the article above, the view doesn't even have to be very much. The WaiterBell system helps restaurants to maximize this unique dining experience for their customers.

With WaiterBell, outside diners never have to worry about feeling stranded from the waitstaff operating inside. WaiterBell helps customers enjoy their outdoor dining while knowing that WaiterBell is there if they need any assistance. Also, if a customer desires more privacy, the waitstaff can rest assured that they will know if any assistance is needed.

Article: “Quality Restaurant Service: Is Standard Fare for Skilled Workers” (Sept.2005)

excerpt:

"William Barnard of Oakland dines out at least twice a week and knows good service; he also knows when the wait staff is indifferent. A recent experience at a restaurant on the Peninsula made the evening memorable for all the wrong reasons.

"I was there with business associates and wanted to try a new restaurant that had been touted," he recalls. "The place was cavernous and the eight servers outnumbered the customers."

It was a warm night and the small group decided to sit outside. After a long wait the server appeared, filled their water glasses and disappeared. "We had to hunt for more water, bread and for the waiter so we could order," Barnard complains. "There were only two other customers in the restaurant that probably sat 150 people. We knew the servers were out there but we couldn’t see them. It was almost funny."

Having to chase down the waiter for the bill was the icing on the cake.

"It is disappointing when the meal is superior but the service is not up to the same standards," he concludes. "That is what stands out in my memory."

link: "Article: "Quality Restaurant Service: Is Standard Fare for Skilled Workers" by Julia Hollister (California Job Journal, Sept. 4, 2005)

WaiterBell Angle: The WaiterBell system is designed to prevent this type of incident from occurring in restaurants with outside or patio seating. The system is a supplement to the waitstaff, as well as a comfort to the customers knowing that they can discreetly and reliably signal for assistance if necessary.