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A Note on Customer Service…

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned gracious hospitality in the restaurant industry? I’ve dined out often enough to know the difference between a grand restaurateur and a restaurant that’s strictly in the biz for profit or just plain inexperienced. I’ve also come to find out that some of the finest establishments are slacking in the customer appreciation department. 

There are some restaurant owners who understand that being a restaurateur is an art. They adhere to timeless values and maintain a superb staff that follows the same mantra. Take Joel & DeeDee Lippes, owners of the Rue Franklin. They truly know how to make patrons feel welcome. It just comes naturally to them. You can see that they genuinely enjoy being on the premises of the Rue to ensure that people who dine there are well tended to and leave feeling content and jovial.

I had a negative encounter a few nights ago with a well known Japanese restaurant whose staff acted far more pretentious than any NoBu I’ve ever dined at. It really left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended) and inspired me to write this. It also made me diagnose the problem and conclude that some restaurateurs are hiring amateurs to meet, greet, and wait on customers.

If you happen to dine in an establishment that makes you feel like you would have been better off making a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich, pouring a glass of red wine, and eating in the comfort of your own home, perhaps you should gather up the courage to point out a restaurants flaws to the owner or manager the next time you dine there. A little constructive criticism can go a long way and you just might be able to save the next person from having a negative experience… and help the restaurant’s business!

  • Laura

    Excellent points. In my experience, management/owners at these types of joints do not care. Best to move on.

  • Lawrence

    It seems to me that many restaurants are not very consistent. My experience at the Rue Franklin was not a great one – not very welcoming and slightly pretentious. I would rate it behind many of the fine dining restaurants downtown. Given the number of restaurants in the Buffalo area, it will probably be awhile before they get a second chance.

  • Anne

    Perhaps you can try sitting at The Rue’s Bar or reserving a table in the Courtyard when the weather warms up. You may find those seating arrangements to be less pretentious and for the past 10 years, they’ve offered a prix fixe menu. I believe they honor the prix fixe menu every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and its $30 (excluding alcohol, tax & gratuity, of course).

  • Sharon

    My husband and I go to LaScala’s Restaurant in Clarence Center. We like to have dinner at the bar and are always greeted by the bartender like we are family. We also know one of the waiters and the owner and wife. It’s just nice to go somewhere and be recognized – it makes you feel good.