What should I have done?
OK, here's a question for all you pros.
We ate at a Lone Star restaurant last weekend (not my choice, but wth). the waiter was friendly enough, in that "sit down at the empty chair" way. BUT, the table didn't have enough setups and he had to be reminded to bring them, he forgot to bring my water, my second beer was late, and he dropped off the check and then dropped off the face of the earth.
When he came back to pick up the check, he apologized, and then said he was "politicking with his boss for you [us]." And then he proceeded to explain to us about how he felt the most important thing was to make customers happy and want to come back, but his boss was more concerned with how many appetizeers and drinks and desserts he sold, and he didn't think it was right to push alcohol on people, and push extra food on people. He took about 5 minutes telling us this.
Bottom line, the guy wasn't happy, and we got poor service because he was distracted and not concentrating on serving us.
What I did was I gave him a pep talk, told him that it's all about attitude. If his boss wants him to move alcohol and appetizers, it's up to him to make sure he suggests them to every customer. WITH A SMILE AND A GOOD ATTITUDE. It's not up to him to set the rules, it's up to him to maximize the dining experience within the rules. I told him to keep his head up and his attitude positive.
I know that he's going to be gone in a week or two and he just doesn't get it. No sense reporting him, I won't be telling his boss anything he doesn't already know.
My feeling is that diners LIKE having things suggested to them in a professional manner. If the server does a good job of engaging the diner and breaking through the ice in the first 10 seconds, he/she can move appetizers. A server can set the stage for dessert early. A server can suggest non-alcoholic drinks to teetotallers (my wife gets nada-coladas sometimes).
What do you all think?