Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Service of Service

Hello all. Lets talk a little about the service industry over here. I am referring to the service at restaurants. In a word it is SLOW!! It kind of goes like this: They sit you quickly. It often takes them a while to get you menus. Then it takes maybe 4x the time you would expect them to take your order. They get you your food extremely fast (probably 2x as quick as in the US) but then you NEVER see your server again unless you send out a search party complete with flairs and the National Guard. Now at first glance the intreped if not particular American may be put off by this and get impatient and pissed, but hold on to your Coke a Cola's and strip malls gang because this strange non-capitalist type behavior was explained to me in this way: Things are much more layed back here. It is not so rush, rush, rush. People get together for a meal to do more than just eat. It is an event to be shared between people. It is a process not meant to be rushed. That said they would think it rude to rush you in any way or to interupt your conversation. They figure that that if you want refills on something or your bill you'll ask for it. Speaking of refills, they eat and drink much slower here too. Which is a change for me because as any of you know if you've ever had lunch, dinner, snacks or drinks w/me I mow through my food rather quickly. Some of the people I have had the pleasure to hang out with over food and drink were a bit amazed at my ability to attack my meal with the fervor of a starving pack of wolves. It took me quite a while to slow down to a pace more suitable for the area (although I am still faster than most here, I've made substantial improvements!). It is not uncommon for people to order a single Frappe' (iced coffee) and sit for three hours entrenched in conversation. If that happened in the States the people would be regarded as loiterers. It is all about the turnover here in the States. Get'em in, get'em out. When they're here fill them up fast and make sure they eat/drink more so we can raise the average sale per receipt... A different philosophy all together. So no stopping for a quick bite or even a quick drink, both are to be savored with your company. Try it you may find it suits you!!

~Craig

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