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What is good service?

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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. 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

      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. 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. 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. 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,

          http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: Non Cognomina

            Great article, thanks!

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

            1. 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. 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.