I’ve been lucky enough to eat out quite a bit recently – and unlucky enough to experience some pretty appalling service in the process.
Last week (*cough* Piccolinos) it took ten minutes to get served at the bar, half an hour to be sat at our table and another twenty minutes to order. A few weeks earlier at a local tapas restaurant we opted to leave after the main course as the combination of a full room of tipsy diners, a décor scheme based on hard surfaces and waiters constantly dropping things meant we couldn’t hear what each other were saying.
In contrast the service is always impeccable at our local Cantonese restaurant. Turns out that’s because the owner/manager has a twenty-something stage plan of How to Serve a Table which all his staff must adhere to. Combine this with having a member of staff seemingly solely responsible for ensuring everyone and everything is in the right place at the right time (Production!) and the service is outstanding.
Which has made me re-think my issues with Project Management. When my last agency introduced a formal project management system and dedicated Project Managers it was a nightmare. You had to book creative weeks in advance, you couldn’t get a PO number for anything without a signed off budget and generally we were in Process Hell. But if that has since matured into a system that makes sure nothing gets overlooked and deadlines are hit then it might have been worth it after all.
Because if dodgy processes mean that clients experience poor service, they’ll head off to the agency equivalent of my favourite Cantonese restaurant instead.