Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Waiter, waiter!

Ever notice how in a restaurant when the service is good, you barely even notice it? When service is perceived to be off, people are likely to complain and yet when it's perfect they don't even remember it! That's the way it goes in the front of the house.

Research seems to bear this out, according to Zagat's 2006 America's Top Restaurants Survey, service ratings are behind food ratings everywhere by almost two points (on the Zagat scale). When asked what irritates people the most about eating out, there was a great deal of consistency in responses -- "poor service" was the top response in every city. Which is part of the reason managing the "front of the house" is such a challenge. Anything less than perfect service is a real problem for most diners.

To read more about the view from the front of the house, check out my interview with Mario Nocifera, the new general manager of restaurant Scott Howard. It's online at KQED's Bay Area Bites.