I went to Plumed Horse (PH) restaurant in Saratoga, California on Valentine’s day. I was all ready for a nice dinner, but the service took a turn for the worse although the food was really good. I’ve never worked in the restaurant biz, so I can only comment from a consumer perspective.
A few things that I wish didn’t happen too often when I am at a restaurant:
- With a reservation, you have to wait longer. At PH, we waited an extra 30 mins past our reservation time.
- The waiter does not serve you in the order that you are seated. At PH, interesting enough, we sat between two tables. One table arrived after us, another table arrived before us. The waiter went to the table who arrived last, then went to the table who arrived first, then eventually came to our table after the first-served table asked if we (my table) was ever going to get served. Did you get all of that?
- At a nice restaurant, the waiter does not take the time to explain the menu and drinking options. At PH, the waiter stood there and waited for us to order and didn’t take the time to walk us through the fix-priced menu. Keep in mind that this menu was on Valentine’s day and was not cheap. I deserve better dammit!
- The waiter does not ask to replenish our drinks during the meal including some coffee at the end of the meal. Argh, at PH, we were pretty much fed up with the service and decided to finish dessert and just get on out of there. We did want some coffee but why give them more of our money.
Alright, so there are my gripes for Plumed Horse restaurant. My suggestions on how to fix these issues with unlimited technology funds:
- People can check online as to when the reservation table will be ready. Better yet, the restaurant can text people when seating will be ready in 15-30 mins. This would require the restaurant to really know the seating turnover time. Do restaurants even keep such data? I’m assuming yes if a computer is involved with reservations and seating. If not, I’d be surprised. Might as well mine this data and provide more accurate reservation times to folks.
- For waiters to keep track of who came when and how long, maybe there are sensors in the seats. When the sensor is activated, it will take a start time snapshot so that the waiter knows when the table was seated. There also be some timing on when the order was taken and when the food was delivered. I think these technologies exist, but not the “butt” sensor technology yet.
- I would say that an interactive, e-book kind of menu would be the technology for explaining the menu to diners, but that is so impersonal. So I suggest no technology for menu explanation and that restaurants are just going to have to do it the old fashioned way.
- For the drink replenishing, maybe there’s a sensor built into the table that senses when the drink goes down to an almost-empty state. This is a bit more tricky in that drink weight is different for glasses and liquids, also who monitors the sensors. May be more pain than benefit.
OK, my two cents!