This recent post by Grant Achatz from Alinea got me thinking. How would I feel if I were dining out and eyeing a table next to me getting the ultra VIP treatment while I was just getting standard service? I guess it would be one thing if it were just any night at my neighborhood restaurant. It might matter less there. But another thing if it was a once in a lifetime type of place. Say Gary Danko, Michael Mina, French Laundry, or Alinea. Then it might be a different story. How would I feel if I was spending a substantial amount of money on a once in a lifetime meal, and all I could see was how the table next to me was being treated better than I was and getting special attention?
Part of me says, it shouldn’t matter. Neighborhood restaurant or any where else. Every guest should be treated equally, and no matter where, I would be envious of a guest receiving special treatment.
But then, I realize. I’m that girl sometimes. Sure, not in these ultra fine dining spots, but in enough restaurants that maybe I’ve been the one on the receiving end of the glare. Ushered into the dining room where the best table in the house is being reserved for me while there’s a wait out the door. Or perhaps a glass of bubbly in my hands even before I have the chance to take off my jacket. A visit from the chef or a special dish not on the menu? Yup, been there. A hello from the manager? Frequently.
Again, I know. I’m a lucky girl. But you know what else? This is part of the reason I return to these spots again and again. And part of the reason they treat me so well? It’s because I do come back again and again. That I bring new people into the restaurant, and return all the time. It’s a two way street.
Regardless, I will gladly spend my money in any restaurant where I’m treated well and greeted with a warm and genuine welcome.