It is kind of funny as we have so many compliments on the service- and as I am here everyday but for Wednesday, I also find it odd that this would be the first I hear of it? Last summer, we went through a spell where the servers were new, we were new and some just didn't understand the 'how' of taking care of people. Those people no longer work here and the 7 front of house staff that we employ are all good at what they do...and we do receive an awful lot of compliments regarding our staff.
Tips are not important, or rather, as important, as you might think. Yes, that is how servers make their money, but they also understand that some people do not have an undertsanding of that- that someone leaving 8% might think it is a great tip and that they did receive great service or that the person who left you 10% might be short at the moment, but flush next week, or have friends that he raves to about the place who are brilliant patrons and tippers. This has been ingrained in the staff and never will you find one ignoring a patron because they are 'lousy tippers.'
For this past Monday, I take full responsiblity. For the first time all summer, we had another crowd besides our regular pub quiz crowd. Two people were not enough to handle the patio and the quiz teams (this week, 65 people were playing, especially with one ailing). It is a difficult night as they arrive together and leave together- all paying at the same time. So again, my fault for not having the foresight to know that September was close at hand, vacations and cottages were in the rearview mirror and that we would do an extra 35% in sales- another person would have been great and made your experience that much better. I think you know Jimmy- and I cannot speak to the last time you felt ignored by him- but I know Jimmy too and he is all about hustle. He may not be the most polished of servers and again, my fault for putting him in that position as he is a pure bartender. He works though, is great with people, will remember your drink, name and how many kids you have- in the true sense of the local. For Jimmy to handle the front two trivia rooms, the bar and a portion of the patio- food, drinks, walking and having to chat to the wood as well- too much. Usually I am able to help- but Mondays, I am doing the quiz master thing...and usually, no need for help as we only have the quiz people in house.
This whole week in fact has seen business increase, with the same staffing levels that we have had all summer- which will change. Next Monday, no quiz, same two staff on- holiday weekend finishing, we assume it will not be that busy. The following week, trivia will be that much stronger as again, vacations are over and we will have that 3rd person on and will increase our staffing levels for those times that we think will in fact be busier.
As for this happening all the time or being a general problem in all of Ontario, I think that is a little outrageous and disingenuous. One thing that we ask of our patrons is to let us know- as it is happening as we can do something about the issue then, but hard to do it days or weeks later- or even worse, hard to do anything without concrete examples, or not knowing about it! At times, the internet makes things easier for us- others, much harder as it does detach emotions making criticism that much easier and yet, solutions that much more difficult. I know I am not a regular customer as I have spent too much time in this business, but I have had some great experiences in this city and we have some fine establishments and servers. Product knowledge is a necessity- but for our purposes, I do not think my staff has to know that the beer was brewed in a southern facing tank, but I do want them to be able to tell you the 18 that are on tap that day and what specials we might have as well as our menu changes more frequently than does our physical menu. If I had a place like Volo, or Chanceys, or Beerbistro- which is more about the beer than any other aspect of the business, then yes, knowing the products would be something that would be more important. Like any other business, we have people whose strengths compensate weaknesses and other staff that have different strengths...and weaknesses.
The thing we talk about all the time is service. We all have access to the same beer, food ingredients, booze, decor, music etc. And because of government regulations, we are also all at about the same price points. Out staff knows how important service is and how it differentiates us from the other places that you can spend your money (and this is more than just bars and restaurants, it is cinema, bowling, golf or any other leisure/disposable income usage)...again, ingrained. they know it can make a difference in sales and reputation.
I am posting your comments for the staff to see as we share everything as such. Being the professionals that they all are, I am sure they will take it to heart and raise their games. And as we get more of a history, hopefully we will be able to tell a $2000 Monday from a $3000 one so we can staff properly.
Thank you for letting me know what is happening- wish you had said something that night as I was here until 11:30, but better to know late than not know right?! Also, for faster response (if you can't do it at the moment that the problem is occuring, please use my email- email@example.com