Dining out in America is generally fast-paced. We typically know in advance if we are going to a restaurant with a “slower paced” atmosphere, but in general, from the time we are seated to the time we get our bill, we’re expecting a fairly quick pace in service.
As a side note: there’s a fine line between “rushed” and “fast paced”. Receiving the check unasked before we’ve started eating the carbs feels rushed. However, never having our drinking glasses empty, having our dinners arrive soon after the appetizers are finished, or receiving our check within a minute after we declined dessert – fast pace, attentive, and fantastic!
Last month I visited eight countries in Europe. In every country there was a clear consistency in the dining experience: Delicious food, extremely slow service! Every country, almost every time we dined. My travel companion and I had to adjust our schedules to factor in future slow service. We eventually never expected to receive our bill 30-40 minutes after meal. But the poor service wasn’t just waiting for the bill(s). From the “Selfie Taking Server” at the Hard Rock in Portugal, to never receiving drink refills in London, to waiting over an hour for a hamburger in Scotland, there was this lack of “pride” in showing great service in restaurants.
Maybe they knew we were Americans, and didn’t care about our chances of returning? Or maybe it’s because of the extremely different tipping policy in Europe compared to the U.S. In Europe, cab drivers, servers, bartenders, etc., are paid well enough that they don’t need or expect tips.
In the US, for the service industry, fast service and quality service, means more customers and higher tips.
In Europe, what is their incentive to break a sweat for the customer? If they serve one customer or eleven customers in an evening, their pay is the same.
This comparison of American dining versus European dining has an interesting parallel in our business world. There is a reason why a sales rep that receives commission or bonuses might put in longer hours and have stronger passion compared to the salaried accountant.
If business owners are having morale or motivational issues, should they consider restructuring their pay so that more employees have opportunities for incentives or bonuses? No matter what country you are in, work ethic is a case-by-case situation, but it never hurts to evaluate how you can influence work ethic.
How are you incentivizing, motivating, and encouraging your employees?