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Service Professionals: In Service but Not Servants

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Aug 28, 2017 @ 11:27 AM

hire a motivational speakerRecently, I ate at an extremely high-end restaurant. The servers were career waiters, meaning serving customers was their life's work. 

They were swift, professional, polite and (as the waiter explained to me), taught to be invisible. 

That's right, In some high-end service environments, servers are trained to be seamless, almost like they don't exist. 

Not that you can't find them when you need them, but that they hide quietly and politely in the background. The goal is to be out of the customer's way so that the client can enjoy the experience. 

They magically pop up to serve you, when they are needed.

Almost like an ex-boyfriend stalking you from afar, they surface out of nowhere, right when you need them. 

It's convenient but creepy.  

After all, they are in service, but not servants.  Isn't the goal to walk with and support customers, not behind them?

Banish Polite Service 

Customers don't come to a restaurant just for the food; they come for the experience. Some people may pay more to have waiters leave them alone, but I think most of us want to feel included in the culture of the restaurant. It is the server that is best equipped to guide them through the experience, not just serve them food. 

Real servers can gauge a customer to see if they are chatty and inquisitive or just want to be left alone.

When I'm at a restaurant, I love to know the history, meet the owner, understand the menu and be walked through the meal specials. I also like to find out more about local entertainment, the neighborhood, and culture. 

I've found this same polished experience at high-end hotels, where people want culture and they are given friendly professionalism instead.

What are your thoughts? Do you prefer a highly professional server or a real one?


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