Over the weekend, I stopped at a local restaurant to pick up some takeout. The restaurant has been open for about six months, so though it is still relatively new, it's old enough to have worked out the initial kinks common to newly opened restaurants. I've eaten at this restaurant several times, both dine-in and takeout. The food is excellent and I've seen it as a welcome addition to my local area.
However, I have worries about its survival if the incident I witnessed this weekend is repeated too many times.
When I entered the restaurant, there was only a single couple seated there, and they were looking at the menu. I waited for my food to be prepared and I was probably in the restaurant for at least ten minutes. During that time, no one went over to the couple's table. No one asked them if they were ready to order. No one asked them if they wanted a drink. They were simply ignored and I don't know how long they were there before I arrived.
At the ends of those ten or so minutes, as I paid for my food, the couple stood up and walked out of the restaurant. It seemed clear that they weren't pleased with the amount of time they had to wait without ordering. As they left, the man at the register looked at them odd, but didn't try to stop them or even ask why they were leaving. No one approached these potential customers as they left.
The restaurant might have lost those two customers forever. Sometimes, it only takes a single bad experience to turn someone away permanently from a restaurant. In addition, I'm sure that couple will tell their family and friends about their negative experience, and others then will chose not to dine there. They might write a negative review online and further spread word. Who knows the ultimate impact of their bad experience?
Customer service is vital to every restaurant! This incident should have been handled better in a number of ways. No customer likes to be ignored and it surely will anger them, maybe enough for them to walk out. Even though this restaurant has excellent cuisine, bad service could be their undoing. Let us hope that they work on these matters, and quickly. And let this also be a lesson for other restaurants as well.