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Opinions of CH'ers on How Regulars vs New Customers are treated

p
prio girl Aug 1, 2012 01:42 PM

I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of Chowhounds on this scenario:
Two couples go to a diner for breakfast. One of the couples are regular customers at this diner. The other couple are friends of the 'regulars' and it's their first time at the diner.
As soon as both couples are seated, the wife of the regulars is immediately served a cup of coffee with her preferred creamer. The other couple is ignored until about 5 minutes later when the server comes back to get orders.
The husband of the regulars likes a wedge of lemon in his water, so that's what the entire table gets without being asked.
Once the food is ordered, it takes at least 20 minutes to arrive. Upon serving the table's food, the server explains that the cook overcooked the eggs of one of the regulars and she made him cook another batch. That's why it took so long for all of our food to arrive at the table.
I can understand regular customers being treated well but am I wrong in thinking that this is overdoing it and not acceptable? Just curious....

  1. KaimukiMan Aug 1, 2012 02:15 PM

    certainly all should have been offered beverages at the same time. if the eggs needed to be redone then the server should have let the table know there would be a delay. all food should come out at the same time. seems you are complaining that it didnt come out at the same time regarding the beverages, but complaining they had to wait for all to come out at once for the food.

    all in all it sounds like the service was sub par.

    3 Replies
    1. re: KaimukiMan
      p
      prio girl Aug 1, 2012 02:23 PM

      The reason for the delay in serving the food wasn't explained until the food was served. I agree that all food should be served at once but the courtesy of an explanation would have been nice.

      I'm just a little peeved because, the 'regular' couple was given special treatment at the expense of the others in the group.

      1. re: prio girl
        KaimukiMan Aug 1, 2012 04:23 PM

        yes, i acknowledged that you should have been given an explanation. and some more coffee while waiting. And you should all have gotten beverages at the same time. And they should have made sure all your plates came out at the proper temperature.

        1. re: prio girl
          r
          rasputina Aug 6, 2012 03:43 PM

          Honestly, I think you are making way too much out of it.

      2. Quine Aug 1, 2012 03:46 PM

        It is clear which part of the couples you were.
        The only thing I see that maybe might have irked me, is that I waited 5 min to get my coffee, but I am pretty grouchy before my first cup. What, you expected to be asked if you wanted lemon with your water and are upset that you got it? I, for one, always order water with my meals, and it a rare time that a slice of lemon or lime isn't present in or on the glass. I am never asked. I don't use it, so I give it to my dining partner. Had no idea I should feel insulted by that. So to me it's a pretty petty complaint to say you got lemon because the one person liked it that way. And having a server who refuses to serve an order because it was incorrectly done, is pretty smart. Why serve something you know is wrong? But because you perceived it as "special treatment to a regular" it's a bad thing?

        Sorry, I see nothing here to get "miffed" about, except maybe the coffee.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Quine
          p
          prio girl Aug 1, 2012 03:53 PM

          Well, that's why I asked - I really am interested in CH'ers opinions.

          But, Quine, nothing about the scenario I presented involved me feeling 'insulted.' I also agree that incorrectly prepared food should not be served. But the 20 minute wait for the eggs to be cooked again also involved the rest of the table's food sitting and waiting to be served and it suffered in the process. (Cooled off pancakes, overdone homefries)

          1. re: prio girl
            Quine Aug 1, 2012 04:20 PM

            So the "table's food sitting and waiting to be served" caused cooled pancakes and overcooked homefries?
            If the order was pancakes and eggs, with a 20 minute service delay, that was a sign of the kitchen being in the weeds and pushing out ill timed food. An egg re-fire takes only a few minutes. I doubt that the whole order was done at minute 5 and then had to wait for 15 to re-fire an egg. I see that as a kitchen issue, not preferred treatment on the server's side.

            1. re: prio girl
              LindaWhit Aug 3, 2012 06:15 AM

              Wait. So everyone else's food was not up to par having to wait for the regular's food? THAT is most definitely wrong!

          2. c
            Chowrin Aug 1, 2012 05:06 PM

            On the "serving coffee" and waiting on the rest of you -- were you busy looking at the menu? because that might make a diff.

            1. Bill Hunt Aug 1, 2012 09:14 PM

              That just does not seem right.

              If I have guests, in a restaurant, where I am a regular, I expect them to get the same treatment, if it differs.

              Should I be the guest, I would hope to "ride the coat tails" of the regulars.

              It is like me bringing in guests to the Red Carpet Club - they get the same treatment, though might not know the bartender, as I do.

              Hunt

              3 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt
                p
                prio girl Aug 2, 2012 04:04 AM

                That's exactly what I felt. There are a couple of restaurants where the owners, chefs, wait staff are personal friends of ours. We're greeted warmly, we introduce our guests (even friends and family visiting from Italy) and they are treated as nicely as we are.

                Hey, this is just breakfast in a diner, no big deal. I just wanted the opinion of CH's on this because it was off-putting to me. Thank you all; I really do like hearing all the differing opinions - which is why I asked in the first place.

                1. re: prio girl
                  Bill Hunt Aug 2, 2012 06:02 PM

                  Yes, same with us. We often dine out with another couple (she writes cookbooks, and he's a wino, like me). We always introduce them, when the chef, the GM or the sommelier stops by. They reciprocate with us.

                  Never hesitate to ask - while you will likely get differing thoughts and different observations, there will almost always be some replies.

                  Hunt

                2. re: Bill Hunt
                  j
                  Janet from Richmond Aug 3, 2012 07:44 AM

                  +1

                3. ipsedixit Aug 1, 2012 09:45 PM

                  I have no problems with this.

                  This is just one of the benefits of being a "regular". Loyalty has its rewards.

                  You (or the non-regular couple) were not wronged in this instance -- it only seems that way when compared to the service the regulars received.

                  The level of service you received was pretty standard (mediocre, if you prefer). It's just that the regulars got above-average service. So when compared side-by-side it just appears like you got jipped. You didn't.

                  25 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    p
                    prio girl Aug 2, 2012 04:05 AM

                    You don't think that it's discourteous for two couples who are sitting together at the same table to be treated so differently in such an obvious and blatant manner?

                    1. re: prio girl
                      ipsedixit Aug 2, 2012 07:52 AM

                      Nope.

                      1. re: prio girl
                        j
                        jhopp217 Aug 2, 2012 03:47 PM

                        Not at all. That's how places get repeat business. You may have felt jilted and never go back, but those regulars will continue to go and tell more friends

                        1. re: jhopp217
                          KaimukiMan Aug 2, 2012 08:01 PM

                          if i was a regular, and my guests were treated that way, i don't know if i would be back, let alone inviting other friends to join me.

                          1. re: KaimukiMan
                            LindaWhit Aug 3, 2012 06:16 AM

                            Exactly, KaiMan. As Bill Hunt said immediately below, everyone should be treated as potential regulars. You don't max out the allowable number of regulars and then everyone else get's shitty service.

                            1. re: LindaWhit
                              ipsedixit Aug 3, 2012 07:49 AM

                              How did the OP get "shitty" service?

                              Is the server supposed to be clairvoyant and know that they wanted coffee (with or without the "preferred" creamer)? What if the OP didn't want coffee? Those kind of people are amongst us, y'know.

                              Lemon with water could just be standard practice at the diner (it is at many places that serve icky tap water).

                              And redoing eggs because the kitchen goofed is (wait for it ...) expected regardless of whether you are a regular, or otherwise. I'd imagine if the non-regular's eggs were cooked poorly, the regulars would have to wait until the dish was fixed before the entire table was plated.

                              So, again, I ask ... what was "shitty" about the non-regular service?

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                p
                                prio girl Aug 3, 2012 08:41 AM

                                1) I am the OP and I never said I got 'shitty' service
                                2) The server put the coffee and creamer in front of Mrs. Regular and walked briskly away. The rest of us and, yes, we did want coffee, weren't offered any until later when the server returned to take our table's orders.
                                3) Serving lemon with water is not standard procedure in this diner. That's just how Mr. Regular likes it.
                                4) Yes, I agree, all food should be prepared properly and served to the entire table at once.
                                5) Mr. Regular has very particular tastes and demands when he orders his food and beverages and he's not very polite when he does this. This diner has his desires down pat and so he is happy and that's all he cares about.
                                6) I've been with Mr. Regular in other food establishments and he orders his food like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally - no, not the orgasm scene, the pie ala mode scene. So, again, this joint has his quirks down pat and knows better than to serve his water, eggs, toast in any way but his way. That's fine for Mr. Regular but there were 4 of us at the table.
                                Again, this was a breakfast in a diner - no big deal. Certainly not worth complaining to the Regulars or to the waitstaff. And my post was to get CH opnions because I think you guys are smart! (most of you, anyway - thats a joke BTW) Thanks again, I appreciate the responses.

                                1. re: prio girl
                                  ipsedixit Aug 3, 2012 08:44 AM

                                  I didn't say you wrote that the service was "shitty".

                                  I was quoting LindaWhit, who I was responding to.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    p
                                    prio girl Aug 3, 2012 08:50 AM

                                    I knew that, I just thought I'd throw that in there for the heck of it ;-)

                                  2. re: prio girl
                                    pamf Aug 4, 2012 11:03 AM

                                    Just speculation, but I don't think your friends, the Regulars, are very well liked at this diner. The staff just knows what to do to keep them from complaining too loudly.

                                    I think the staff was being a bit passive-aggressive here and took out their frustration with the couple on you. They got her coffee, his lemon water and special eggs, and screw the rest of it.

                                    Unfortunately, as their guests, you got the fallout and were treated poorly. If you had gone in there on your own, completely unknown, they probably would have treated you just fine.

                                    The coffee incident is particularly baffling, because I don't think I have ever gone into a diner/breakfast type place where the server was not right there pouring coffee a minute after you sat down.

                                    1. re: pamf
                                      j
                                      jhopp217 Aug 6, 2012 10:53 AM

                                      That is a great point. I am a regular at quite a few places and know that the servers bring the "regulars" who bitch and moan their stuff before anyone else, because they don't want to hear it. They bend over backwards for people who leave exactly 15% just because they don't want to hear it.

                                  3. re: ipsedixit
                                    LindaWhit Aug 3, 2012 09:01 AM

                                    OK, sorry about the phrasing of shitty service - I was speaking more in general terms and NOT this specific situation. Did you see I wrote "everyone should be treated as potential regulars. You don't max out the allowable number of regulars and then everyone else get's shitty service." I was referring to Bill's post below.

                                    But in this situation, the others did get cooled-off pancakes. If the eggs were redone, then (wait for it......) SO SHOULD THE PANCAKES have been redone. They shouldn't be allowed to cool off.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                      ipsedixit Aug 3, 2012 09:14 PM

                                      But in this situation, the others did get cooled-off pancakes. If the eggs were redone, then (wait for it......) SO SHOULD THE PANCAKES have been redone. They shouldn't be allowed to cool off.
                                      _______________________

                                      Really? When does that ever happen?

                                      When one diner gets a under/over cooked steak, for example, and the kitchen decides to replace it, the other diners do not get to have their dishes replaced, as is. Right?

                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        LindaWhit Aug 4, 2012 05:11 AM

                                        And now you're comparing apples and oranges.

                                        THAT is the exact issue - the OTHER diners' dishes were *not* put in front of them, ipse (as in your supposed scenario). They were held in the kitchen while the regular diner's eggs were recooked.

                                        IF the other diners' had received the food they had ordered and could eat their *hot* food while the regular was told his eggs were being recooked, different story. But they didn't. Their dishes sat, cooling off, as the OP stated, and were served in that state, all for the sake of this one person.

                                        I won't be discussing this any further. You feel one way; I think differently.

                                2. re: KaimukiMan
                                  mariacarmen Aug 7, 2012 09:37 PM

                                  yes, absolutely. why would i want my friends to be treated less well than I am, and at my table? it isn't like the friends showed up at ANOTHER table and didn't get the same treatment that we did!

                                  1. re: mariacarmen
                                    Bill Hunt Aug 9, 2012 06:12 PM

                                    I've been away from this thread for a bit, but have to say that when I am the "regular," my guests get great service too, and when I am the guest, I cannot recall a time, when I felt slighted in the least.

                                    Maybe I have just been very fortunate, or lead a very sheltered life?

                                    Matter-of-fact, I seem to almost always get great service, even when I am dining at a totally new restaurant.

                                    We just dined at a restaurant, that we had not dined at, for the last six months. They greeted my wife by name, had a dossier on her limited food allergies, and had even written up a Chef's Tasting Menu, just for her, because that was what we did on two previous visits, over the last 15 mos. Just a nice touch. Should we arrive with guests on our next visit, I feel comfortable in stating that they would be treated very, very well.

                                    Yes, guess that I am just the "fortunate son." I feel for others, when service goes off, or is geared toward part of the party, but not to all. That is just odd.

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                      Quine Aug 9, 2012 06:23 PM

                                      I believe the way you are treated is a result of how you treat others. You clearly are a kind, thoughtful and respectful person, so that is also how you are treated. Giving a smile is the best way to get a smile.
                                      In the OP's case here, I think the treatment of the husband of the "regular" pair, has the staff so used to jumping how high he tells them. Most likely, he would have griped if anything else happened. He might have felt his wife was slighted if, the server took the time to take drink orders before they brought hers. I do not believe he is on the list of "good regulars".

                                      1. re: Quine
                                        Bill Hunt Aug 10, 2012 08:14 PM

                                        In that respect, I try. I want the servers to enjoy me (and my party), as much as I hope to enjoy their service and the food. At the end of the day, "we are all in this together." Same for the cabin crew on my flights. If I can insure them experiencing a better day, they almost always reciprocate, and I end up benefiting.

                                        Hunt

                                      2. re: Bill Hunt
                                        KaimukiMan Aug 9, 2012 07:50 PM

                                        i'm guessing this wasn't a diner with a $3.99 breakfast special - eggs any style and two slices of bacon. Sheltered wasn't the word i would choose, but it'll do for now.

                                        Regardless of the level of dining, service should never be rude or condescending.

                                        1. re: KaimukiMan
                                          Bill Hunt Aug 10, 2012 08:17 PM

                                          Yes, the "diner aspect" has played on me, throughout the thread.

                                          While we DO dine at diners, and other breakfast locations, I do not think that I am a "regular" at any. Once upon a time, I was at Camellia Grill in New Orleans, but now, I am but a tourist, with memories.

                                          Hunt

                                  2. re: jhopp217
                                    dave_c Aug 6, 2012 10:51 AM

                                    I would think that a business would want more regulars/repeat business. Why slam the door on new repeat business?

                                    1. re: dave_c
                                      Bill Hunt Aug 9, 2012 06:14 PM

                                      Dave,

                                      That is the question, that I keep asking myself, but as I am not in the business, there might be something, that I just am missing. However, there is much that is beyond my comprehension.

                                      Hunt

                                  3. re: prio girl
                                    Bill Hunt Aug 2, 2012 06:05 PM

                                    I do see a bit of a problem there, and am a bit surprised.

                                    While it is nice for a chef (as an example) to recognize regulars, they should be very nice to "potential" regulars.

                                    Recently at Chef John Besh's Restaurant August in New Orleans, Chef Besh stopped by. Though we have not lived in New Orleans, since Chef Besh was born, he recognized my wife, for several culinary events, where he was a guest chef. We spoke, and introduced our dining companions, who live MUCH closer to Restaurant August. Chef Besh was warm to all at our table, and very welcoming to all. Nice touch.

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                      ipsedixit Aug 2, 2012 09:00 PM

                                      How was the restaurant not nice to the non-regulars?

                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        Bill Hunt Aug 9, 2012 06:16 PM

                                        Actually, Chef Besh was great with the non-regulars. I do not understand your question. Heck, I think that he liked them, better than he did me, though he did fawn over my wife, but she had done several cooking classes with him, and I had not.

                                        Hunt

                                3. h
                                  Harters Aug 2, 2012 04:21 AM

                                  I think it's great that the place takes such good care of its regulars. I am not a regular anywhere so never benefit from this but it must give the customers a warm feeling.

                                  1. j
                                    jujuthomas Aug 2, 2012 06:27 AM

                                    i'd be a little annoyed that I had to wait 5 minutes for coffee, but I'd assume that lemon in the water is standard at that particular diner, as it is so many other places.

                                    As someone else said, sounds like the kitchen was in the weeds.

                                    We were regulars for a while at our local diner, which was fun. When we took my family there, they got treated just the same as we did. Funny tho, our favorite waitress NEVER remembered our usual drink order correctly! :-D

                                    1. c
                                      CanadaGirl Aug 2, 2012 06:40 AM

                                      The coffee issue would bug me.

                                      1. m
                                        MonMauler Aug 2, 2012 07:01 AM

                                        I am a regular at a number of establishments. Whenever I go to any of these establishments, I expect my guests, or those joining me, to be given the same preferential treatment as I am. So, the coffee situation might irk me a little bit...a very little bit.

                                        It sounds like the husband of the regulars received his beverage at the same time as the rest of the table. The lemon wedge situation is a non-issue because a large number of restaurants serve a wedge of citrus with water by default. The wait for the food is similarly a non-issue because one of the diner's plates - be they a regular or not - was cooked incorrectly, and the kitchen took measures to correct the mis-fired plate and still serve everyone at the same time, which they did.

                                        Where I am a regular, I would expect the server to take everybody's drink order at the same time before serving me my beverage. If the server had delivered the coffee and, at that time, asked for everyone else's drink order, that would have been better than the situation that transpired. One of the two regulars getting a beverage before everyone else is not a major infraction, and I would not of even thought to bring it up were I either the regular or the guest. Nothing about the rest of the meal is out of the ordinary.

                                        1. viperlush Aug 2, 2012 07:28 AM

                                          This is how I see it:
                                          Coffee issue: You are at a diner, so how hard would it have been for the server to bring 4 mugs over? Especially since you were there for breakfast. I would be pissed if I wanted coffee as well, but I don't understand why you just didn't say "I'll take a cup too (or what ever)" while your friends were being served or as she walked away.

                                          Lemon Wedge: I agree with those who say that is is a non issue. Some places it's standard, some it's not. Unless the server squeezed the lemon in the water it's not hard to remove it.

                                          20 min wait: I would be pissed if the rest of the food was sitting out getting cold while they redid the egg. Three people shouldn't be served lukewarm food so that one could have hot. But I don't think that 20 min is an unreasonable length of time to wait for food.

                                          1. j
                                            jhopp217 Aug 2, 2012 03:45 PM

                                            The server sounds like a jerk, but I do have some questions, because when we're the one's being mistreated, our views immediately shift to defense mode. Was the wait for coffee really 5 full minutes? I would have walked out. I don't think I've ever walked into any place, the most crowded diners and not been offered coffee with the pitcher in hand within 2 minutes. Do you mean to tell me that the server poured one person's coffee nobody elses and you allowed her to walk away?

                                            I don't have a problem with the lemon as is, I see this seems to be the norm.

                                            20 whole minutes for food to come? Sounds like about standard. Maybe 5 minutes longer, but you didn't mention the crowd. As for your later description of the cooled off pancakes...you didn't mention that in the OP and that would seem to be the greatest offense.

                                            I personally think you were more annoyed at being ignored than being mistreated. Sounds like pretty standard diner stuff.

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: jhopp217
                                              p
                                              prio girl Aug 2, 2012 04:15 PM

                                              I really thank you CH's for your attention and opinions. I realize now that my problem wasn't being "ignored/mistreated" by the staff.

                                              (...and there was no way we would/could have "walked out" or complained. It was a simple diner breakfast with friends.)

                                              What pushed my buttons was that we were with an individual who, whenever we've eaten out together (at other places), has mumbled (with a mouth full of bread) orders to the waitstaff to bring lemon, more bread, no salt, etc etc. No "please" No "thank you" just orders and an attitude when his mumbled orders aren't understood.

                                              My husband, who is a much kinder soul than I am, always speaks up and politely conveys our friend's wishes to our server.

                                              Now, we're at his favorite joint and it's all about him.

                                              This thread has been enlightening for me and I thank you all - Really!

                                              1. re: prio girl
                                                Quine Aug 2, 2012 08:38 PM

                                                I am sorta happy to read this. I did suspect, that the "regulars" weren't so much loved as feared. That it wasn't a matter of jump, but more how high.

                                                1. re: prio girl
                                                  l
                                                  latindancer Aug 3, 2012 08:14 AM

                                                  We are 'regulars' at a restaurant. I would be horrified if our guests, who we take quite often, were treated any differently than us.
                                                  I've watched other 'regulars' make sure everyone and their cousin knows who they are and they put the waitstaff, the chef and everyone else they can find through the hoops. They have no idea how ridiculous they look.

                                                  1. re: prio girl
                                                    j
                                                    jhopp217 Aug 3, 2012 04:11 PM

                                                    I have a somewhat rhetorical question. Assuming this diner meal was around $10, my question is, would you have sat so quietly had this meal cost you 4 or 5x what this meal cost? I'm assuming no.

                                                    1. re: jhopp217
                                                      p
                                                      prio girl Aug 3, 2012 05:06 PM

                                                      Long history with this couple and there's no way we would have done/said anything to put a negative vibe on the meal. Yes, I myself did have my own negative vibe but that was internal and we still had a nice visit with the Regulars.

                                                      It wasn't a matter of sitting quietly or the cost of the meal - just an unusual (to me) experience and I was really just sitting there observing what seemed like odd behavior and (afterwards) wondering: "am I wrong to feel this way?"

                                                      And, I don't think this would have happened in a different place, whatever the price. It's never happened before. It's just that Mr. (picky rude) Regular has found his zone here and he's a happy camper. I can deal with that. Let him be content. I still wish the waitstaff could be equally attentive to all 4 of us.

                                                    2. re: prio girl
                                                      c
                                                      Chowrin Aug 3, 2012 04:20 PM

                                                      sounds like you had dinner with a shmuck. if you really don't like how he acts, Tell Him. Gently if you must, robustly if you'd prefer.

                                                      It may be that he does not realize waitstaff are not serfs, and ought to be extended the same courtesy as his guests.

                                                      1. re: Chowrin
                                                        p
                                                        prio girl Aug 3, 2012 05:11 PM

                                                        Easier said than done. He's just one of those people we have to deal with in life. He really has a good heart (whatever that means) but he's so out of touch with how to behave in a restaurant (the mumbling of orders with his mouth full of bread and never saying 'thank you' or 'please.' )

                                                        I guess he's our cross to bear and we'll go to heaven at the end. JK JK JK
                                                        And his wife is very nice and I think does her best to tolerate him.

                                                        1. re: prio girl
                                                          c
                                                          Chowrin Aug 3, 2012 05:15 PM

                                                          Someone this oblivious should be laughed at -- and with. A simple giggle, followed by, "finish the bread, she can wait that long!" or "I can barely understand you, how do you expect her to?" (again, not snippy. just goodhearted "you silly")

                                                          1. re: Chowrin
                                                            p
                                                            prio girl Aug 3, 2012 05:17 PM

                                                            I like this! I just may try it next time - thanks.

                                                          2. re: prio girl
                                                            Bill Hunt Aug 9, 2012 06:22 PM

                                                            From your description in this thread, the host's nature seems to be unfortunate, at best.

                                                            Maybe the staff was hoping that his guests would not be of that ilk, and were a tad stand-offish?

                                                            Going way back, we did a ski trip with a fellow, who I would typify as a "real boor." His behavior was way beyond, in many respects. We dined at several restaurants on that trip, where he had dined before. I sort of wondered if the staff recognized him, and assumed that the rest of the party was cut from the same bolt of cloth? We were not, but how were they to know?

                                                            Stuff happens.

                                                            Hunt

                                                    3. Emme Aug 2, 2012 09:37 PM

                                                      my first question is: how did the "regulars" respond to the treatment? did they observe (and verbalize) the disparateness of service?

                                                      were it me, and i wanted my guests to enjoy the place as much as i do, and experience it as i do, then i would surely apologize to my guests, and figure out a direct, firm, but polite way of letting the server/management know of my displeasure.

                                                      1. LindaWhit Aug 3, 2012 06:01 AM

                                                        Serving coffee to the regular couple and ignoring the other couple who are *DINING* with them until the server took the food order? Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The "regular couple" should have said something immediately.

                                                        The lemon in the water thing isn't a big deal, but if that's *not* the way they normall serve water - everyone shouldn't have gotten it. The better way would have been to serve his water with lemon, and to bring a small dish of lemons for everyone else's plain water, saying "Since I wasn't sure if everyone else liked lemon in their water, I brought these for you in case you'd like lemon as well."

                                                        ALL of the food *should* be brought at the same time, IMO. So that was correct. However, the server should have let the entire table know of the delay before the food was eventually brought out.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                          Bill Hunt Aug 9, 2012 06:29 PM

                                                          Going a bit OT here, but I am one, who does NOT want anything in my water, and if I observe lemons, limes, cucumbers, etc., being served in it, will specifically ask for my water to be plain. I do not want, say a "citrus element" clouding my Pinot Noir, but that is just me.

                                                          I have been the guest of many "regulars," and some order "special drinks." I always ask about those, and if they sound interesting, will order one too - not to be considered a "regular," but because they sounded interesting. Same for dishes, that might not be on the menu, but known to the "regulars." However, there are probably more times, when I decline, and place my own order, per my tastes.

                                                          If there will be a delay for one at my table, I greatly prefer that ALL dishes be held up, until all can be served at the same time.

                                                          Now, there have been instances, where something was wrong with a diner's dish, and it had to be redone, and then, the rest of us usually make conversation, until their dish does arrive, unless they protest greatly. Timing IS important. The better the restaurant, the more importance I place on timing, and grade off, when it is not spot on.

                                                          Hunt

                                                        2. iluvcookies Aug 3, 2012 09:14 AM

                                                          The level of service given to the regulars should be extended to any others dining in their party. Clearly the server won't know the guests preferences, but should make the same effort as they do for the regulars.

                                                          If I were the "regular" and my guests were treated poorly (as in your example), I would be quite upset.

                                                          1. j
                                                            jhopp217 Aug 3, 2012 04:16 PM

                                                            As I was posting something else, you reminded me of something. Friends asked me to meet them for dinner. I had a rough day and really just wanted to food and some drinks. I walked in and the waitress was sitting at the table. She called me honey and asked me what I wanted. She then sat there for about 7-8 minutes telling the others a story. By the time she got up to get my drink, their apps arrived. We shared, so it was fine, but she came back and did the same thing again and then didn't get up until the entrees were served. I didn't feel like sitting and waiting while my friends ate only to get my food after they were done. I said nothing and then sat and had a few drinks. The waitress repeated the siting behavior over and over. As we were playing the bill, my friends said "you didn't eat really, so just pay for your drinks and throw in $10 for the tip. Now, I'm a generous tipper (usually 25% min) but my drinks cost me $12. I wasn't paying $10 extra for not eating. So I declined. They got mad and said "we're regulars." I said, "it's my last tme here...my apologies."

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: jhopp217
                                                              p
                                                              prio girl Aug 3, 2012 05:14 PM

                                                              Oy! Good for you! ......and I hope your friends had a good visit with the waitress.

                                                              1. re: jhopp217
                                                                Bill Hunt Aug 9, 2012 06:32 PM

                                                                Ouch!

                                                                Now, there are up sides, but also down sides, to too much familiarity between servers and patrons. I am from the Deep South, and "familiarity" is often part of the service, whether one has been there before, or not. Maybe I am a bit inoculated to such behavior?

                                                                OTOH, it sounds like you only got stories, and not much service. That is too bad.

                                                                Hunt

                                                              2. p
                                                                pollymerase Aug 3, 2012 10:02 PM

                                                                Regarding the original post, yeah, I'd be miffed about the delay in receiving coffee, but in general I think the reaction of being offended is a bit overboard. I have no issue with the server bringing the 'regular' their coffee without first taking their order, I find it more annoying that they didn't then immediately ask what the others wanted. However, sometimes service isn't perfect and if it was a quick drop and run because they had other orders or diners to worry about I would understand. Not great service of course, but certainly nothing to keep me from coming back.

                                                                I am more interested/surprised by the number of hounds who seem to realize they get special or exceptional service and expect the same to be extended to their friends or party when they are with them. What happens when your friends or someone you recommended the place to goes there without you and gets different service than you do? Obviously being a loyal customer of an establishment has some advantageous (like the server knowing what type of creamer you take), but to suggest that the business should provide you and your party exceptional service above and beyond those of other non-regulars doesn't sit very well with me. I expect restaurants to attempt as much as possible to treat all customers with respect and great service regardless of how many times they have dined there or who they are dining with.

                                                                1. j
                                                                  jhopp217 Aug 4, 2012 09:16 AM

                                                                  Not to keep this going too much, but what kind of eggs were they? Just asking, because I made a Greek omelet this morning and thinking about this thread, timed it. Took two minutes and 45 seconds. Hardly enough for someone else's food to get cold.

                                                                  I also thought about what I would have done if I was the server. I would have brought out all the food and then politely said something along the lines of "oh, you ordered the eggs *******, they look a little overcooked, would you like me to take them back?" Seems like this would have been the least offensive way to do it.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jhopp217
                                                                    ipsedixit Aug 4, 2012 12:16 PM

                                                                    Not to keep this going too much, but what kind of eggs were they? Just asking, because I made a Greek omelet this morning and thinking about this thread, timed it. Took two minutes and 45 seconds. Hardly enough for someone else's food to get cold.
                                                                    _____________________

                                                                    Esp. with heat lamps. Which are de rigueur for diners.

                                                                    1. re: jhopp217
                                                                      PHREDDY Aug 5, 2012 06:22 AM

                                                                      +1...agree....we are regulars at some very fine restaurants and at least two diners. We became regulars because we love the food , service , the experience, that is why we became regulars! We are very careful whom we take to our regular places, but have found that even the cashier to the bus boy ,owner , chef is always great to us, even if they err.. It is really the effort that counts and I feel that you regulars got "their regular service", not what you would consider "regular"!

                                                                    2. b
                                                                      bobbert Aug 6, 2012 07:59 AM

                                                                      You were at a diner for breakfast. Sounds like the type of place that might even have a $2.99 special of eggs and toast. You were not dining at Per Se. I would have much lower expectations with service in general. The coffee issue is the server bringing the "regular" her regular drink. Obviously, in fine or even middle of the road dining, all drinks would be served at the same time. in this situation, at the very least, the non-regulars should have had their drink orders taken without the 5 minute wait. It looks as though the husband (1/2 of the two regulars) also waited the extra 5 minutes so he wasn't getting that particular special treatment.

                                                                      Same with the lemon. Really a non-issue as I often get a lemon wedge whether or not I requested one. In this case the wife got one as well whereas it was the husband who apparently likes the lemon.

                                                                      Then there's the 20 minute delay. If everyone's food but the husbands eggs sat under a heat lamp I read that as including the wife's so it would appear that her special treatment ended at coffee.

                                                                      I would agree with others on what my expectations might be if this were a fine dining experience but it wasn't. Some service problems? Maybe, but I'll say it again, it's a diner, not Per Se. Non-issue.

                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                      1. re: bobbert
                                                                        j
                                                                        jhopp217 Aug 6, 2012 11:00 AM

                                                                        I completely disagree with your thoughts. I am not one who gives a rat's *** about service generally, but I don't downgrade my expectations of how I'm treated based on the cost of the meal. If someone is in a service profession, one which works on tips, they are expected to be pleasant and efficient. I've eaten at many nice restaurants and gotten tired by the constant badgering and fake concern. I don't care if I'm paying $7 for breakfast or $98 for a steak. I want to be treated the same. I do expect it.

                                                                        1. re: jhopp217
                                                                          b
                                                                          bobbert Aug 6, 2012 06:38 PM

                                                                          I guess I've been cutting the Matire d at Denny's and the Sommelier at Applebees too much slack by not holding them to the same service standard as those at Per Se.

                                                                          I think my point might have been missed. While I do expect my guests and me to be treated with a similar degree of respect in any of these places, I do hold to a much higher standard my servers when I'm dishing out $100 per person than when I'm going for the all you can eat soup and salad while being waited on by a high school senior.
                                                                          There are places where I expect my extra silverware to be picked up between courses and there are places where I know I better hold onto the one fork that came wrapped in my napkin for fear I will end up eating with my hands. A "what can I get ya?" or "the regular, hun?" might be fine at my corner diner but would be met with an astonished look from me at some finer restaurants I frequent.

                                                                          Back to the original post, from what I've read, I didn't come away believing there was any overt rudeness on the part of the server. I do believe there may have been a miscue or two but, considering the type of establishment, nothing that rose to the level of total failure by the server where one might consider never returning . To expect the same level of refined service at a breakfast joint and a fine dining establishment would be a bit naive. If those things occurred at Per Se, IMHO, totally different story. Maybe we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

                                                                          1. re: bobbert
                                                                            Quine Aug 7, 2012 04:35 PM

                                                                            I think you might enjoy the situation discussed in http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/860225

                                                                            1. re: Quine
                                                                              b
                                                                              bobbert Aug 7, 2012 04:57 PM

                                                                              I've been enjoying it quite a bit. It's become very off topic but very funny . I'm glad the moderators haven't stopped it yet. I guess the key is to keep it fun and not nasty.

                                                                              1. re: bobbert
                                                                                Quine Aug 7, 2012 05:28 PM

                                                                                It is funny, probably the funniest I've seen Bill Hunt in ages. :-)

                                                                                1. re: Quine
                                                                                  Bill Hunt Aug 9, 2012 06:40 PM

                                                                                  Thank you for the kind words, but I think that K'man wins any prize! [Grin]

                                                                                  Let's just say that he did not use the "Free Willy" line, when he dined with us at Alan Wong's.

                                                                                  Also, and in light of this thread, we were the "regulars," and he was our guest. I feel very strongly that he was welcomed, and served at the best of the staff's ability, during that meal. I do not know if he felt like O`hana, but the staff certainly treated him with the utmost respect, and his service was on par to that, which my wife and I experienced.

                                                                                  Now, I do have to comment that we are not "regulars" at any diners, that I can recall, but at more up-scale restaurants, so maybe there is some sort of protocol, of which I am just unfamiliar.

                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                    KaimukiMan Aug 9, 2012 07:57 PM

                                                                                    I was exceedingly well taken care of and made to feel welcome and comfortable. I haven't had an opportunity to go back, one of these days. I'll let you know how they take care of me as a non-regular.

                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                                      Bill Hunt Aug 10, 2012 08:20 PM

                                                                                      K'Man,

                                                                                      That is all that I could possibly ask. As our respected guest, I would not have allowed anything BUT a welcoming atmosphere for you.

                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                      PS - As a side note, we are headed to Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN (second trip this year), where Chef Wong will be cooking, and Dr. Ernst Loosen will be doing his wines. Leigh Ito will be there too. We are looking so forward to next week. We will give Leigh a big "Aloha" from you.

                                                                              2. re: Quine
                                                                                Bill Hunt Aug 9, 2012 06:36 PM

                                                                                That has been a fun thread, and am glad that it has been allowed to stay up.

                                                                                Hunt

                                                                        2. dave_c Aug 6, 2012 10:34 AM

                                                                          I find it very odd that your server didn't take the drink/coffee order for the entire table at the same time.

                                                                          Lemon for all is a nice bonus. I've been on the other end where the server only brings lemon for one person when we meant the entire table wanted lemon.

                                                                          A 20 minute wait for food sounds normal, but recooking eggs while allowing the other food to go cold is a no-no in my book. I've returned food that's been sitting at the window waiting for a server to deliver to our table. As the food is sitting at the window (usually no heat lamp) 5, 10, 15 minutes, I'm the one that starts getting hot under the collar.

                                                                          Overall, it sounds like a poorly trained server.

                                                                          1. r
                                                                            rasputina Aug 6, 2012 03:39 PM

                                                                            Honestly, in general I've seen regulars treated worse than new customers frequently. There is often an attitude that the regulars will tolerate more and be more understanding. I wouldn't assume that your one experience is the norm.

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