Has Service in Restaurants Become Too Casual?

Categories: Bites & Dishes

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Is the level of service at restaurants on the decline?

Restaurant critic Alan Richman seems to think so and has accused several NYC restaurants of going too far out on the casual dining limb by providing careless service.

See also:
- Should the Food Industry Separate the Accomplishments of Female Chefs Because They're Women?
- How Hard Is It to Hire and Keep Good Cooks?

Has the restaurant service bar dropped in Phoenix? Here's what a few Valley chefs and restaurateurs had to say:

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Kevin Binkley
Chef and Owner, Binkley's, Café Bink, and Bink's Midtown

Yes, the details are overlooked at most restaurants. It's just as easy in most situations to abide to appropriate service techniques. I miss people not back-handing, serving from the left, clearing from the right, beverage service from the right, sides on the left, not giving me their name, smiling, holding the door, etc.

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Anthony Spinato
Chef and Owner, Spinato's Pizzeria

Absolutely. A lot of restaurants have let servers just serve. There is no personal connection between servers and guests anymore. I don't know if it's because patrons are not looking for that anymore as part of a reason they visit a restaurant or they just don't care about it as a restaurant. True guest service is dead in most restaurants.

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Dave Andrea
Owner, Brat Haus

There's a local vegetarian chain that I love and I go there a lot, but sometimes I can't tell the staff from the customers. Usually, the staff is the one with the most tattoos and piercings. Enough already.

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Heather Bryan
General Manager, Zuzu

Service has become more comfortable but not casual. Guests are dining out often and expectations have risen; they expect more from a menu and a server. They are able to relate to their server on a more personal level, which adds to the comfort and enjoyment of eating out.

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Aaron May
Chef and Restaurateur

Service should be comfortable but not too casual. I don't need anything formal, but I don't like being called "dude" and I won't tolerate when they finger glasses, leave dirty plates on the table, or have a conversation on the side while at my table.


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12 comments
kharper721
kharper721

Some of my favorite restaurants have the worst service, but I let the food make my decision.  If I judged a restaurant by the service, unfortunately I would never be able to eat out.  

However at Cafe Zuzu I have always had great service!  Heather always says hello to us, even though we usually just go for happy hour!  Samantha is always so nice and makes the best cocktails!  Love that place!  

Eddie Omega
Eddie Omega

yeah I've gotten many looks like that....usually right at the hostess station!!! I don't know why some restaurant owners would hire people like that....it's only making people feel not welcomed.

deaconbluebatchelor
deaconbluebatchelor

As a server, and a career service industry worker, I feel that casual dining has become the new "fine dining". As the generations of people who were brought up on proper dining etiquette, and or were exposed to white glove service get older and go out less, we will see new generations who's first dining experience may have been in a fast food restaurant. So there service expectations are low. In response to this article from the other side of the fence. I would like to see better etiquette from people who dine out, along with the decline in proper service, we have a decline in manners from our customers. Showing up to an award winning restaurant in a Tommy Bahama button up in flip flops does not inspire me to feel like putting on a show for you.

Brandi Young
Brandi Young

yes, what is up with HIPSTER servers?! I always feel like they look at me and think I am not cool enough for their attention because I don't have hair flair or wingtips.

Eddie Omega
Eddie Omega

Yeah you would think some places would hire a guy like me with great service skills but I don't fit the hipster criteria that a lot of restaurants want as servers.... or as a customer even!!

Jody Chandler
Jody Chandler

I almost always get good service. Now ask me about the quality of food in the valley that will be a different story!!

John Aardema
John Aardema

At first I thought this was going to be an anecdote of poor service as told by Alan Rickman. "I am displeased with Chinese menu item number three hundred and ninety four..."

Tonya Hill-Saidi
Tonya Hill-Saidi

I would have to say yes, especially after our experience this weekend at a very popular new trendy place!

Barb Walters Harris
Barb Walters Harris

that being said, we had our anniversary dinner at Rancho Pinot Saturday night, and as always, service from each staff member was perfect -- friendly but not cloying, efficient, helpful and they gave me fresh silverware. :)

Barb Walters Harris
Barb Walters Harris

i'm okay with casual service at a casual restaurant, but don't become my best friend and sit down at the table and chat with me. and, at a more formal restaurant -- please give me fresh silverware for each course.

Brandi Young
Brandi Young

Yes, so many restaurant servers are snotty and act superior to guests.

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