Here’s a link to the article in question from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, written by Sarah Nassauer. Now I will start with a disclaimer: I’ve worked in restaurants for years, so some things about them that seem very obvious to me, may not be to everyone. But having said that, I could have written this entire 30 paragraph long article using exactly FOUR words. How Waiters Read Your Table: “They use their brains.” That’s it. That’s the whole thing. Every single point this article makes feels like complete and utter common sense. Like if you tell your server that your food is “OK,” he/she knows you don’t love it. Wow, it’s amazing they can read minds like that. But my absolute favorite point (which is mentioned twice, both in print and in the audio soundbite) the author makes is that Bob Evans Restaurants train their servers not to try to upsell “biscuits and gravy” to a person who has just ordered fruit and a bagel. You think? Brilliant.
And while I’m ripping this thing to shreds, I might as well point out that on 4 separate occasions (in the text, in the audio, in the video, AND in the picture) this article states that if you appear angry or upset you are more likely to get good service. Thanks Sarah Nassauer. Thanks a lot. That’s a great message to put out there.
Oh, and I stole this graphic directly from the article itself, but I intentionally made it too small to read. You’re better off that way.