Dear Owner/Operator(s) of Aladdin Restaurant,
Given the many restaurant meals I have consumed during my lunch hour all over this fair city of ours, I have gained valuable knowledge and experience which can help your restaurant become one of the very best. Because, you see, right now you have a problem.
Do you have delicious food crafted from fresh ingredients, served hot? Yep.
Do you serve that delicious, hot food at reasonable prices? I think so.
And do you serve that delicious, hot, reasonably-priced food in a timely and efficient manner? Ummmmmm……..No.
Some days all I can think about is the tender, delicately spiced lamb mixture sliced and layered with fresh, crisp lettuce inside a warm pita cleverly wrapped in white paper so the filling doesn’t fall out as I devour it. And those thoughts are immediately followed by feelings of nervousness and distress that I experience every single time I go to Aladdin at the hand of the completely inadequate service.
Because it’s Thursday,
Because I love your food,
Because I want to patronize Aladdin more often,
I am going to give you some valuable tips to improve the service at your restaurant. Please note, I don’t do this for just anyone.
Tip #1. You might need more staff. Two servers are not enough to handle a full restaurant. I have been to Aladdin on several occasions when almost every table was occupied with hungry diners. That’s waaaaaay too many tables for two servers. Maybe the staff likes it that way because they don’t want to share tips with an additional person, but I, for one, don’t tip generously for the kind of service I get at Aladdin.
Tip #2. Customers usually expect a drink refill. I refuse to order anything but the free tap water because nine times out of ten, I don’t get a refill at your establishment. I may be thirsty, but at least I didn’t pay $2 for a single 8-oz. glass of soda AND leave thirsty. If the server is unable to provide refills in a timely manner, consider leaving the small pitchers on the table so customers can at least help themselves to refills. Or you could use cups like they have at Casa Garcia – I think those things can hold an entire liter of liquid refreshment.
Tip #3. Lunch hour is an HOUR for most people – thus the name. Perhaps some of your patrons are fortunate enough to be independently wealthy, their own boss, or a vagrant and have no concern over the time. But it’s very difficult for me to fully enjoy the enticing grilled flavor of the chargrilled shrimp when I am worried about getting back to work on time. I have never, ever made it back from Aladdin within an hour.
Tip #4. When people order lunch with the drinks, it might mean they are on lunch hour. See Tip #3, above. If you encounter a table employing this attempted time-saving technique, don’t dilly dally. Please.
Tip #5. You might want to check with the customer soon after the food is delivered to make sure it’s alright. We were missing pita bread the last time we ate at Aladdin and we needed the dang refills. Our server never returned. Well, she eventually returned after all the food was eaten and we were making those annoying empty sucking sounds with our straws. A good five minutes after the last fork was at rest. This is a regular occurrence. Even the group stare-down doesn’t work with your people. Our four-top will put eight eyeballs on our server, when she’s in sight, trying to give her that uncomfortable feeling that “someone is watching you”. No luck.
Tip #6. Customers don’t want to wait forever on the check. I have never been asked if I’d like dessert or an after-lunch cocktail. I don’t know what your servers are waiting on. Bring the blasted checks already. When a customer’s belly is full of hummus, they simply want to leave and get on with their lives. Especially if they don’t even have a drink to sip on. I am going to start asking for the check when I place my order at the same time I order my free tap water. I know: I’ll order two glasses of free tap water from the get go. Brilliant!
I know this may seem like harsh criticism. But please take it in the spirit it’s given: one of helpfulness and affection.
My dream is to eat a gyro with a side of super-crispy fries without the worry that I’ll be late to work. To enjoy the Swish Tawook with ample refills of my beverage of choice. To follow the delicious Aladdin Salad with a check delivered timely.
I am already in love with your food. I want to also love your service.