What is one to do when seated in a restaurant and it appears that the staff has forgotten all about you? In the case of Sonyita when she went to Applebee’s, her decision was to wait for twenty minutes before asking another server if anyone was going to take care of them.
The server’s response: “Did you seat yourself?”
This exchange prompted Sonyita to post about it on Facebook which is an open invitation for me to jump right in and offer my 100% completely unsolicited advice.
Where to begin? I suppose I can try to defend the server, but I’ll be honest, it all depends on how she said it. There is a way to ask that question that makes it seem like you’re trying to get to the root of the problem and find a happy solution for the customer:
Or, that question can be said in such a way that implies the customer is a dumbass who ignored the proper restaurant protocol, therefore creating their own problem by seating themselves and keeping staff from knowing they are new customers:
My guess is that the server’s response was closer to the second version which would explain Sonyita’s disappointment. But here’s the thing. Did Sonyita really sit at the table for twenty minutes before approaching someone or was it more like seven minutes and it just felt like twenty because she was so hungry for some mozzarella sticks and Fiesta Lime Chicken? Twenty minutes is a really long time, like you can pretty much watch a whole episode of Schitt’s Creek in that amount of time. I can ride the 7 train from Queens to Times Square in less time than that. Could it be that Sonyita possibly exaggerated that wait time in order to prove her point? And if she really did wait twenty minutes, why would anyone wait that long before taking matters into their own hands?
Attention customers: if you are ever seated in a restaurant and no one has approached your table or even recognized that you’re there within 4-5 minutes, go back to the person who seated you (assuming someone actually seated you…) and ask when someone will be at your table. Don’t wait for twenty minutes and then do it. All you’re doing is wasting your time, because if it really is twenty minutes, then it’s clear that there was a miscommunication and it just needs to be straightened out.
Attention servers: if a customer approaches you to see if someone is ever going to take care of them and you ask them if they seated themselves, try to ask them in a way that doesn’t make the customer want to go to Facebook and complain about it.
As for you Sonyita, I’m sure your Applebee’s gift card is on the way and next time, try not to exaggerate. (We all know that’s what you did there.)