What makes a great restaurant service? Tastemaker nominees are special
When it comes to service, there are some common phrases that indicate that a restaurant may be doing things right or, worse yet, indifferent to customer satisfaction.
“Are you still working on this?” “
“My name is Jim, and I’ll take care of you tonight.”
If bad service is defined as false hospitality efforts, then a sign of good service is sincerity.
First of all, eating should never be a “job”, although a few people are fortunate enough to be able to make a living by dining out and sharing their experiences. While it is nice to put a name with a face, telling me your name is a bogus attempt to build a personal relationship where a professional one will suffice.
The same attitude applies to “My pleasure” instead of “You’re welcome” in response to “Thank you”. We’re all happy with a job well done, but âmy pleasureâ is an attempt at false levity – especially at the counter service and corporate restaurant chains that train their employees to use it.
If bad service is defined as false hospitality efforts, then a sign of good service is sincerity. This manifests itself in a number of ways, but basically it is expressed by the feeling that the staff are genuinely excited that a guest has chosen to frequent their particular establishment.
Yes, all staff, from hosts to servers, managers and valets, contribute to a guest’s perception of service. That’s why the CultureMap Tastemaker Restaurant Service of the Year nominees are all restaurants, rather than individual waiters or managers.
Establishing and maintaining a culture that promotes a welcoming atmosphere and does not say no to any of the most absurd requests is a restaurant with a broad philosophy. Collectively, our applicants are setting a standard that more properties in Houston should aim for.
Collectively, our applicants are setting a standard that more properties in Houston should aim for.
It’s no surprise that most of our candidates are on the expensive end of the restaurant spectrum: from the white-hot food destination BCN Taste & Tradition at the double restaurant The Pass & Provisions, New American Restaurant Triniti and the temple of meat conqueror Pappas Bros Steakhouse. After all, increased spending comes with heightened expectations, but these nominees still stand out with thoughtful touches and an air of comfort that reassures customers that the cost of a visit is basically worth it.
Uchi and American Pax are a little different in that the waiters at both establishments act as menu guides. Their goal is to clear up unknown ingredients and provide diners with the two items they will enjoy and maybe one or two items that will push a person’s culinary boundaries. The fact that both restaurants are always packed only underlines how important the front desk staff are in helping to keep order.
Heart of beef forgo some of the traditional attributes of the service; diners reset their own silverware from drawers built into tables, for example. In addition, customers only choose vegetarian or non-vegetarian menus. Nonetheless, the staff offer important matchmaking tips and help manage the very high expectations of patrons who have read the enthusiastic praise the restaurant has received since opening three years ago. Also, few would deny the charm of one of Chef Justin Yu’s cooks explaining a dish he spent hours preparing.
Of course, our limit of seven nominees per category means that some worthy nominees have been omitted. Classic Houston destinations like Brennan’s and Tony’s have taken great care of generations of Houstonians: many couldn’t imagine celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion anywhere else. Brasserie 19 and La Griglia deserve recognition for carefully managing the competing interests of various members of Houston’s social scene. Counter service outlets like Blacksmith and Paulie’s may be short of waiters, but they still understand the importance of good service.
Now if only we could get “Are you still working on this?” Â»Banned from our collective vocabulary.