Since the inception of BiteSeeing.com in 2007, I’ve shared my reviews of restaurants, bars, and other assorted service-related establishments but have never qualified my perspective and approach. Now, as we re-introduce ourselves, I feel like I should reflect and clarify…
Being a Management Consultant kept me on the road every week, and for ten years I generally was not at home for Sunday lunch through breakfast on Friday mornings.
So what does this mean? I ate out a LOT! I ate most of my meals during that time period at restaurants. Good ones, bad ones, remarkable ones, and dreadful ones. I believe this experience gave me the skill to evaluate an establishment truly from the eye of the customer. In my business, an oft-used phrase is that “perception is reality”, so the old cliche’ “the customer is always right” is one that shouldn’t be ignored. It helps that I follow restaurant rescues and business re-invention topics and media. For example, I know from these studies that as a foundational business practice you should always be greeted by someone upon entering the front door of a restaurant. While not every restaurant I may consider a good one does this, all of the ones I consider great do.
I try to pay attention to a checklist of things like that as I gain an opinion based on my own experiences at any of the places that I offer a review.
Opinion forums are highly debatable and you may not agree that waiting 15 minutes for a glass of water and a menu are material enough points to ‘ding’ a restaurant on if the food is amazing, but I am taking a holistic approach to the business as a whole, again from the customer perspective and my personal experiences.
The checklist I run through is based on having a great experience, including:
- Was I greeted at the door (Person, Sign)?
- Was the greeting within 30 seconds?
- Did I wait longer than it seemed like I needed to (Was the restaurant crowded or empty?)
- Was the table clean/already set up? (Was the restaurant clean and decorated appropriately)
- How long did I wait for a menu/water/server?
- What did I think about the food choices in general? (Too many/few items,
rangeof the items offered, pricing)
- How long did it take to get an order in?
- How long did it take the food to get the table?
- Did we get everything we ordered?
- How was the table service (water topped off, plates cleared)
- How was the food/drinks (Quality)?
- Was it easy to request a change or additional items?
- Was the server friendly?
- Was the server professional?
- Did he/she seem educated on the menu, including ingredients and substitutions (or just reading off the menu?)
- How was the experience of getting and paying for the tab?
- Did other guests seem to be having a good time?
- General, overall impression?
- Pros & Cons
I hope this helps to dispel any speculation into my thought process for a particular scoring element, but please don’t hesitate to join the conversation if you have a differing experience or opinion…