Last week, I stopped for a quick bite and a glass of wine at a Boston restaurant which has received national attention this year for their wine program. This was actually my first visit, which was long overdue, to this spot. The food was delicious and the wine list was impressive but the lackluster service was a fail.
Awards and accolades aren't a guarantee that you'll have a positive restaurant experience.
I sat at the bar and during the time I was there, I was able to observe and compare the actions of two different servers, the one who served me and another who later served others at the bar. There was an obvious and significant difference in the attitudes and actions of the two servers. One well represented the restaurant and its concept, while the other failed as an advocate, evidencing a lack of passion.
A food menu and wine list were placed in front of me without real comment. Then, my server left to let me peruse the two menus. When the other server tended to his guests, he was much more communicative. First, he explained their wine program, noting some of the unique aspects of it. Second, he also detailed the day's food specials, which weren't listed on the menu.
My server didn't mention either of these items to me. He left me in the dark, limiting my choices because of my ignorance. He did the bare minimum, failing to rise to the occasion like the second server.
My experience would have been different, and more positive, if I had the second server. I might also have chosen different food and wine, based on that new information. When you have a more unique wine program, you need to ensure that your customers understand it. And that means your servers need to be proactive, to inform customers about it and not put the burden on the customer to have to ask about it. The second server did an excellent and seamless job of discussing the wine list and food specials. You felt his passion. And that is what will lead to positive reviews and bring in more customers.
Despite my experience, I'll likely return to the restaurant, hoping my experience was more an aberration.