The Anxious Server Syndrome
I've spent a lot of time in my life complaining about slow service, but I never thought much about the fact that that the best servers find a happy balance between leaving you to languish and rushing you.
Once when time wasn't as much of a factor for everyone, you didn't even get your menus in a nice restaurant until you'd had a cocktail or two. Now, I have to admit, I'd rather have the following problem described in C. Grene's e-mail than the opposite: ...
Last week my wife and I vacationed in Lexington Virginia, and we decided to stop into a restaurant for a late lunch, so we went into a medium sized place about 1:30 pm. About 25% of the tables were occupied, and the hostess led us to table near the center of the restaurant and put 2 menus on the table.
As soon as our bottoms touched the chair, a waiter arrived and asked "are you ready to order?" I politely explained that we were not ready because we had not yet read the menu, so he walked away, but hovered.
As soon as we opened the menus, before we had a chance to read one word, he returned with the same question, "are you ready to order?"
My wife and I looked at each other and we were thinking the same thing. Something is wrong somewhere if the restaurant is this anxious to get rid of us, we put down the menus and walked out.
It would seem to me that customers would be better treated that that, and I wonder what your opinion is?
(Photo of a Prime Rib waiter who would never rush you by Kenneth K. Lam/Sun photographer)