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What is good service?

jaypee Dec 8, 2006 10:57 PM

Maybe I am tainted, because I have worked in the business for most of my life. But what does "good service" mean to you, my chowhound compadres? I have worked in all facets of the restaurant business leading to my current role as a manager of one of LA's best restaurants. I feel my service staff is one of the best staffs I have ever lead, and per a lot of your reviews I think this board feels the same. I think like most of us "in the business", I seem to expect a certian standard in service. Yes, you can tell me it depends on where you are dining. This is somewhat true, but I have gotten amazing service at a hole in the wall diner, and horrible service at LA's premier eatery's. So Chowhound I ask you to tell me what does good service mean to you?

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  1. adkim RE: jaypee Dec 8, 2006 11:02 PM

    attentive but not overbearing. knows when to ask if you'd like more water. knows when their customers are in a hurry. i hate having to ask for my check...and if i do the server better bring it back promptly. (i.e. change or receipt to sign.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: adkim
      hrhboo RE: adkim Dec 8, 2006 11:21 PM

      Oooh, I hate being asked if I'd like more water! I prefer it when they just pour it without interrupting my conversation. Thankfully, this isn't usually a problem since I rarely drink water.

    2. r
      RicRios RE: jaypee Dec 8, 2006 11:06 PM

      Some quote of "opinionation" is required for good service.
      I hate it when any posible choice from the menu is followed by the waiter's "Excellent choice!". I that case, I immediately ask which choice would not qualify as excellent.

      1. h
        hilltowner RE: jaypee Dec 9, 2006 04:46 AM

        Oh, nice thread. Already the answers are showing that good service to one person is bad service to another. Some don't want to have to ask for the check; others think it is rude to get the check before having requested it. I am curious to see what others disagree upon. There are always some constants, but so many variations. With experience, one can learn to read a table, but that takes a while. Before then, you can only go with the most popular approach and hope for the best.

        1. Non Cognomina RE: jaypee Dec 9, 2006 05:02 AM

          My opinion of the good service is greatly influenced by two people: Laura Cunningham and Danny Meyer, in that order.

          This article is worth revisiting,


          Mr. Meyer has a new book out, but I've not read it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Non Cognomina
            s0memale RE: Non Cognomina Dec 9, 2006 06:15 AM

            Great article, thanks!

          2. f
            FAL RE: jaypee Dec 9, 2006 10:30 AM

            Good service . is hard to come by. Only in high end rest do I see good service nowadays.

            1. c
              chef4hire RE: jaypee Dec 9, 2006 03:16 PM

              I despise oversolicitous waitstaff...was out last week at a fine dining establishment- within the first 5 minutes I knew the servers first and last name- where he grew up and what business his family owned...along with the fact that he was the owner's mothers favorite server and he left a competing restaurant three weeks ago....it was everything I could do not to scream SHUTTIE UPPIE...maybe it's just me but for the most part I want my servers to be seen and not heard

              1. Andiereid RE: jaypee Dec 9, 2006 03:49 PM

                Attentive, but quiet service. I want them to notice when my wine glass is empty and offer another, I want them to fill my water glass without interrupting, and I want them to be relaxed and have a sense of humor. I don't want a comedian, but I don't want my server to have a board down the back of his/her shirt either.

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