Service Mishap

Being a waiter at times can be the most frustrating and nerve wrecking moments. As waiters we deal with customers on a daily basis and when something goes wrong, somehow we have the ability to keep on going. It’s our responsibility to please the customer.

Waiting for the First Time

I remember my first waiter job was at a fine dining restaurant. I was given the title as follow-waiter which is a waiter that provides assistance to the lead waiter.

A follow waiter’s responsibilities were very much the same as the lead waiter but without taking the actual order. One afternoon, the owner/manager informed all the staff that a VIP table was coming for lunch. The group was composed of important figures in the city’s fashion industry.

The Mishap

After the group arrived and sat comfortably, drinks were ordered. Normally, the lead waiter would be in charge of wine service, however that afternoon the owner asked me to serve. I had never done wine service nor have I ever served a group of 12.

I arranged 12 crystal wine glasses on the bus pan and went to the table. As I set one of the glasses in front of the first customer, somehow I had lost my grip and the glasses began to tumble. Six glasses fell to the floor and shattered with bits of glass falling on top of a young woman. I panicked and my faced turned red. I was nervous and was deeply apologetic. I apologized so many times to the woman and to the rest of the party.

Swiftly, the restaurant owner came to my aid and assisted in the cleanup and sent out their drinks right away. I don’t understand why, but the group was forgiving and the young woman disregarded the incident and repeatedly informed me it was ok.

My boss pulled me to the side and said, “If you know why it happened, learn from it and move on. You still have a table to serve and you can’t show your frustration or disappointment. Mistakes and accidents happen. Keep your chin up and be confident. Don’t worry about the glasses, they are replaceable.”

He was truly a well respected restaurant owner/manager within the neighborhood and I understood why people would think so. Perhaps, his close relationship with the group made the situation calm or maybe the group gave me a break because I was the youngest of the staff. At the end of the meal, we offered a complimentary dessert to the young lady which she did not expect but gladly accepted. Although this was a disaster, the same group returned.

Lesson Learned

I learned from that day, we all make service mistakes, but it is important as to how you handle the situation. There is still a service that needs to be provided and most customers are forgiving as long as you show you really care.

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2 Responses to “Service Mishap”

  1. Laura Says:

    Not everyone flies off the handle about an accident like that. I had a waitress accidentally dump a jar of ketchup on me. I was wearing a new suit and on the way to a job interview after having lunch with my sister. The restaurant paid for cleaning the suit but that wasn’t much. I wasn’t able to go to the interview. Still, I did not scream and rage at anyone. What would that have done? People who get enraged just look silly.

    I’ve been working in customer service in different areas- department store cashier, receptionist and tech support, etc. There are always some people who react to any problem by ranting and spewing. Those are the people I lost interest in. I never go out of my way to help them. But someone who is able to talk and work things out with me I will do the same to help them.

    Good luck with your own restaurant. What a great thing to have achieved.

    Welcome to Entrecard too. :)

  2. TheRestaurantBlogger Says:

    Hi Laura, thanks for stopping by. I am sure with all your past customer service experiences, you have faced a number of interesting customer complaints. I only wish there were more customers such as yourself who are more understanding. I applaude you for remaining calm in your situation. I know a number of customers who would not react the same way as you did.

    I agree that some customers are not worthwhile to please. I have been in situations in which a customer will complain for no reason, only hoping to receive something free. When a problem arises, I will always try my best to resolve the problem quickly and do anything in my power hoping they will return. But once a customer becomes unreasonable such as using unappropriate language, I will stop them. Unfortunately, some complaining customers can never change and are constant complainers of everything.

    Hopefully, you managed to get a job as good or better.

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