Service with a smile

I love going out. I love dressing up and going out to dinner, or even just getting a cup of coffee at my favourite café. I like the idea of making an occasion out of food, especially when I’m dining out. For me, it’s all about the experience – I like to visit my favourite hangouts again and again, where I’m assured of the food quality, ambience and service.

My husband, on the other hand, is the absolute opposite.


He loves to try out new places and new cuisines. Needless to say, there are a lot of disappointments when the food or service doesn’t quite turn out as expected. Of course, there are times when we stumble upon something really nice, but I’d say that’s a rarity.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for trying new things. It’s just that I hate it when we’ve sort of pinned all our hopes for a good evening on a particular restaurant, which then doesn’t live up to my expectations and leaves me feeling slightly unhappy. Which then gets compounded by me beginning to get annoyed that I am now unhappy (and could have been happy if only we’d gone to our favourite place), and well…, it’s a downward spiral from then on. Haha!

Yes, yes, I know I should be open to new experiences and all that. It’s just that, well… life is, life. And we must work. And do daily chores. And sometimes struggle in our lives when life throws you a curveball.

And so, when I decide to take time off from these things and spend a little quality time alone or with someone, that time MUST be well spent. There are days when that ‘quality time’ is spent at home in my PJs with Netflix and pizza (Of course! It’s from my favourite pizza place! The husband knows not to mess with my pizza).

But there are also days, when I feel like dressing up and painting my nails and putting on lipstick and going out to dinner (or brunch or coffee). On those days, it becomes imperative that I receive good service from the restaurant I’m at. If I’ve made the effort to dress up and come out to a nice restaurant, then the least I expect is that the host and servers there greet me with a smile and make me feel welcome. Service is paramount for me.

In my opinion, a city such as Gurgaon has loads of restaurants with delicious, world-class cuisines. Each restaurant is better than the other. We’re spoiled for choices. The only differentiating factor for me then becomes service.

Now I don’t mean that I want people falling over me. But a smile and greeting would be nice. You know, just let me know that you’re happy I decided to come have lunch at your place today.

You’d be surprised at how many times I’ve had bad service. I’ve been to places where the staff makes you feel as though they’re doing you a favour by letting you in to sample their fare. I can’t stand such hoity-toity places one bit.

On the other hand, I recently I visited a newly opened restaurant with Mediterranean fare. The host was polite and friendly, and so was the waiting staff. They patiently answered our questions about the unique offerings on their menu and suggested popular delicacies. And they smiled when they talked to us. A lot. Which I thought was really nice. And so, I will visit them again.

I find it so incredible that in today’s day and age when the hospitality sector has grown and evolved into the juggernaut that it is today, many restaurants have still not understood and imbibed this basic fact – good service is the key differentiator.

And it’s only good service with a smile that will lead me to prefer a friendly neighbourhood restaurant (with maybe fewer dishes on the menu) to a fancy 5-star place that is a stark reminder of how service should not be.

[Marvel fans… Did you see what I just did there? 😉 ]