Last Saturday night Jayne and I attended a concert in Sydney.
As is our way, we drove up early and ate dinner at a restaurant nearby to the venue before going to the concert.
This is something that we find ourselves having to do quite often when attending concerts and sporting events in Sydney.
It’s an awkward situation…. depending on the start time of the concert or game, we have to leave home quite early so that we can dine early, and still arrive at the concert venue with adequate time before the concert begins.
Any way on this occasion, or dinner reservation was booked and made for 5:30PM.
When we arrived at the restaurant, it was quite heavily patronised.
After identifying ourselves to the restaurant greeter, we were taken to our table. It was a table for two people, positioned beside a wall, with a door to the toilets directly behind one of the two dining chairs.
[In olden days, a dining table located beside a toilet door was considered to be in “Siberia”, in restaurant land….]
This table was totally unacceptable, because what we knew would happen is that for the duration of our meal, one of us would be watching a continual procession of patrons entering and leaving the toilet.
As we looked around the restaurant we noticed two other tables that were better “positioned” and were not occupied, so we called a wait staff member over to see if we could move to one of these tables.
When we asked her, she replied that these other two tables were booked and we could not change.
We replied that we too had made a booking, and that the table we had been allocated was really not suitable for dining at.
The wait staff member refused to look for a solution, so we asked her to go check with the greeter.
When she returned she told us the exact same thing: that we could not move tables.
We asked to speak to the manager, but we were told that the was unavailable.
We said that we would wait…
Then miraculously, we were allowed to move to one of the two vacant tables nearby to us, that was available.
Interestingly when we sat down at this table, we noticed a number of tables that could have seated four people that were being occupied by only two diners….
What does this mean?
For some weird reason, the restaurant staff could not see that they had created a false class structure that had no justification.
Allocating “badly positioned” tables to early arrivers, and not being flexible enough in their processes to be able to switch out tables for early arrivers if needed, is a “system” within their business that needs to be ironed out.
If we rewind for a moment, and find that the table next to the toilets is the last to be allocated to a diner with a booking, then no challenge will arise if all other tables have been allocated to diners and no other tables are available.
It’s that simple.
I’m not sure as to what the difficulty was in terms of switching us out to another table, as we had arrived early and other tables were empty, but it wouldn’t be too difficult for team members to work out a plan… and I’m sure that a request like ours would certainly happen again sometime soon, if this same situation arose again…
In fact, it really wouldn’t be too difficult to allocate the seat beside the toilet door last.
In your dental practice…
In your dental practice, does something like this happen, where you think that you could have been more specific in your allocation of a booking or a service, that didn’t make the customer or patient feel as though they were being treated like a second-class citizen.
There’s no excuse for making a customer feel undervalued and unwanted… giving them a window seat is far more impressive than giving them a seat by the toilet door….
Are you giving your patients the metaphorical “flick pass” to go sit beside the “metaphorical toilet door”?
Don’t be so careless. You can always do better….
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