Assertiveness and Hospitality
I recently returned from a holiday and have an experience to share with all the hospitality workers out there. I found a place in Amsterdam and decided to have a look.
Here's the situation. This restaurant has a range of challenges but one of the main ones is seating. They have one big table for everyone to eat at to have a shared family style meal where you can meet new people. The downside is there isn't much room.
A family had booked a table and was waiting for a very long time to be served. The customers already seated a the big table had long finished their meals and were chatting away having a merry time and the family that booked were growing impatient.
The waiter was a gentle soul, and I'm sure he would have had a difficult time being assertive with the group who had well finished eating. I was growing anxious because I could see the storm brewing as I waited for my food.
The family was growing impatient and all it took to solve the problem was for the waiter to be assertive and politely tell the guests who had finished their meals that other diners were ready to be seated. He could have just said with a smile something along the lines of "how was everything? I'll bring you the check now." Seeing the people waiting would indicate to the guest to see the situation and tidy up their conversation and head out.
But it never happened. The people kept talking and just as they left a different family came in and sat down in the seats and the family that had booked and was waiting left in a huff. The restaurant lost business and now in the age of social media they could leave a scathing review and say how unassertive the waiter was!
If the waiter had been assertive he would have been able to serve all the customers and make sure they had a good experience. Instead, he has disappointed customers that waited for a long time for nothing. Poor service is not good for business.
I think where the waiter went wrong is he sees asking someone politely to move on as rude. It is not rude. He has a business to run and the people had finished their meals. It is within reason to move them on for the customers who had been waiting. It's all in how you say it.
In hospitality, it is no different from other industries. You are in the service of your customers and you have to put your needs on the same level of respect as your customers. The waiter today put his customer's needs first at the expense of his own and he suffered the consequences.
What would you do in that situation?
Assertive Life 2016-10-24