Article: “Fusion with flair, if you’re patient” (Aug.2006)


“Stunning design and excellent food by themselves do not automatically make a great restaurant, however. Three months after it opened, the 200-seat Kampai still is plagued by poor service and a kitchen that sometimes seems incapable of turning out more than one exquisitely plated dish at a time.

…On our first visit, the server kept rebellion at bay by stopping regularly to check on us and apologize for the kitchen being so backed up. He was friendly and professional. As the evening dragged on, he brought a free pot of tea to keep us happy.

At a later dinner, a different server all but abandoned our table after bringing drinks, and there were no reassurances. He appeared undertrained and overwhelmed. The starters and entrees straggled out one at a time, and the rice we asked for earlier in the evening didn’t arrive until we were almost finished eating. The manager, eventually noticing our discomfort, tried to speed things up and offered a $5 gift card toward a future meal as compensation, but it wasn’t enough to mollify us by then.

…Kampai House has the food and the setting. Now, all it needs is some attention to service to become a restaurant worthy of a return visit.”

source: “Fusion with flair, if you’re patient” by Aleta Wilson (Mercury News, Aug.13,2006)


Article: “Lehndorff: Spell-check those menus” (Aug.2006)

“I should be relaxing during these dog days of summer, but big questions plague my overheated mind. I get picky, picky, picky and wonder:

Why don’t people who write restaurant menus use spell-checker or have someone proofread them before they print them? I constantly catch spelling and grammatical errors among the starters and entrees. When I see “prosciutto wrapped shrimp,” I wonder why there isn’t a hyphen connecting the modifiers, i.e., “prosciutto-wrapped.”

It makes me think there are other details that have slipped below the management’s radar…”

source: “Lehndorff: Spell-check those menus” by John Lehndorff (Rocky Mountain News, Aug.4,2006)

related link:
Resource: Customers list their restaurant pet peeves and annoyances [WaiterBell Blog]

Article: “How To Make The Crabby Customer Into The Lifetime Satisfied Patron”


“Despite all of our best efforts, all restaurants face the occasional crabby customer. Regardless if the grouch is grouchy because of something we did (or didn’t do), the bottom line is that it’s our job to put them in a better mood. And most often, the whiner who can be won over will think your restaurant is a winner.

Practice responding to unhappy guests. Use real-life scenarios and role-play them with your staff. Start with the small and the mundane like “My food is cold.” That’s easy – you simply take the plate of food away and return hot food. Voila! You’re a superstar.

Move into the heavy stuff. Food is taking a long time or a table was forgotten. How do you make up for those things? Find out before you have to deal with it for real…”

source: “How To Make The Crabby Customer Into The Lifetime Satisfied Patron” by Susie Ross (The Restaurant Report)

Article: “Service with a smile? First you need the smile” (Aug.2006)


“As the economy booms across Alberta, businesses of all kinds are riding the wave and seeing new levels of prosperity. But perhaps no industry faces the kind of challenges the restaurant industry faces.

Boom times are often the stereotypical catch-22 scenario for restaurants. When the economy is doing well, people tend to eat out more often as levels of disposable income rise. It’s good business for restaurants and several across Grande Prairie have been winning national and North American awards for sales.

But the good times have also had another severe impact on the industry as the most common sight at local restaurants is not the menu, but the Help Wanted signs. Longer waits are more common, and stories abound of reduced hours and service.

Keeping up with the good times has become a full-time business in itself for some restaurants and the labour shortage is forcing some to become very creative…”

source: “Service with a smile? First you need the smile” by Darrell Winwood (Daily Herald-Tribune, Aug.1,2006)

Article: “A menu of ‘don’ts’ for restaurant servers” (Jul.2006)


“…When paying that amount of money for my Tournedos Rossini, I expect stellar service. So when the waiter came to the table and referred to me and my dining companion as “you guys,” I wanted to stuff his mouth with my very large napkin.

This brings me to this month’s topic: The Don’ts of Restaurant Service.

…5. You don’t need to come by the table every 10 minutes to find out if everything is all right. Learn to read your customers. People conducting business don’t want to be interrupted. Couples on a romantic date don’t want to be interrupted. People deep in conversation don’t want to be interrupted. If you must interrupt, be as unobtrusive as possible.”

source: “A menu of ‘don’ts’ for restaurant servers” by Pam Wischkaemper (North County Times, Jul.27,2006)

Article: “Turning your table into the chef’s table” (Jul.2006)


“Table-side flourishes — think bananas Foster set aflame by a tuxedoed waiter — are en vogue again, but minus the fussiness. While some Chicago restaurants are breathing new life into classic dishes, others are applying the old-school European concept to a range of cuisines.

At the trendiest Mexican restaurants, and even some non-Mexican ones, guacamole mashed table-side has become something to boast about…”

source: “Turning your table into the chef’s table” by Janet Rausa Fuller (Chicago Sun-Times, Jul.31,2006)

Article: “Key to great service is avoiding the 12 fatal flaws” (Jul.2006)


“When plotting service strategy and delivery, too many operators, managers and trainers focus on what they should “do” for their guests. I think it’s just as instructive and illuminating to define first what not to do. In other words, do you know what you don’t know that you don’t know?

So let’s take a closer look at what not to do to the guest and examine the fatal flaws of service-giving as seen through the customer’s lens. Eliminate these service blunders, and you may no longer have the need to “teach” service at all, because your customers will have a consistent experience characterized by the absence of complaints…”

source: “Key to great service is avoiding the 12 fatal flaws” by Jim Sullivan (Nation’s Restaurant News, Jul.31,2006) [free registration req.]