The stories are everywhere – people walking into a food establishment and being recognized. Movies and TV shows make it sound as if a person really could just order “the usual” and everyone knows what that means. But is it reality?
On some card at Red Robin there was a story about a family who received a substantial amount of money from Red Robin for their hospitalized child. Why? Because the family frequented the restaurant enough to be known by the staff. When it came out that the family was dealing with an illness the restaurant rallied on their behalf. It was a heartwarming story. But I didn’t believe it. I have never felt that appreciated at Red Robin.
My family enjoys eating out. It’s a fun family activity and weekend tradition. We have a varied repertoire of restaurants we visit. Even then it feels like we are often recognized. When Togo’s changed their menu board we could walk in and the lady would immediately start working on my favorite sandwich, no longer listed on the menu. It was a good thing too since I don’t remember what it’s called! Some sort of turkey something or other. One time there was an issue with the soda machine. The lady got me a bottled Diet Pepsi without me having to ask.
Our family favorite and go to restaurant is a Mexican restaurant. Over the years we have gone there many times. There was a long stretch where I really hated them. Their service had gotten poor and sloppy. We stopped going for quite a while. I never wrote any bad reviews other than on my blog. After a while we started going back. The food is good and it is our favorite restaurant. There must have been a turnover in staff which had improved considerably.
It didn’t seem like we had been going there all that often but we are back to being recognized by the seating hostesses. Lately we keep being seated in the same section. I hope we are never seated anywhere else. We had a waitress for the first time and she was great. She was very personable and friendly. My favorite part was how on top of it she was with refilling our drinks.
The next time we got her she remembered us. As soon as we sat down she walked by and asked, “Two diets and three Sprites right?” It startled me but Heath and I said yes and she quickly returned with our drinks. I think I ended up drinking four or five glasses of Diet Coke that night because we never had to wait for refills. The next time we went she immediately brought the drinks over and introduced her serving partner. He was a fabulous waiter too. Between the two of them we were well taken care of.
Last night we went again. We planned on a different restaurant. It’s a place we had a bit of a bad experience with. We patiently waited for a good 45 minutes outside in the cold. Our pager never lit up. Heath went inside to see what was going on. He saw that our name had been skipped. They told him it would be another 30 minute wait. Uh no! We left. Last night the parking lot was even more full than that fateful night and there were many people waiting outside. There was no hesitation. We headed straight for our favorite restaurant.
We have learned that if we get to our favorite restaurant between 5:00 and 6:00 there is little to no wait. It was 5:30. We were taken straight back to a table in the elite section. Our favorite waitress and waiter said hi. They talked to another waiter who brought our drinks right away. He introduced himself and took excellent care of us. I don’t know how much Diet Coke I drank because my cup never got below half full before he brought a pitcher over to refill it. The food was wonderful and the experience was as nice as usual.
At the end of our meal the waiter shook hands with Heath and me saying it was a pleasure meeting us and serving us. I was so impressed. It makes me wonder what is said about us when we walk in. Heath and I tip well. It’s just who we are. If our drinks are taken care of we tip really well. If service is poor we are not afraid to tip accordingly. I just wonder if we have a reputation for being good tippers at that restaurant.
What do they say about us? “Here comes that family again. They are very nice and they tip well so take care of them.” Is that it? I don’t know. I just really love being there now. I feel like we’re treated royally. We haven’t done anything out of the ordinary to deserve it but we are treated so well. It’s been such a pleasure being there the last couple weeks.
Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory may say strange things like, “I don’t like the Olive Garden; they treat me like family.” I have decided that being treated like family at a restaurant is wonderful. There is nothing that compares to walking into a place and having the staff know what your usual is.