Dining with Technology
As a child, I fondly remember going out to dinner with my family. We used to talk about what we did that day at school or at work, or what plans we had for the upcoming day. The topic of conversation varied, from funny to serious, and sometimes even sad. But the common denominator to an evening out was just that: conversation. Now call me old school if you like, but technology has changed how we interact with one another, some of it good and some of it well, could definitely use improving. The different forms of communication that we utilize vary from texting to instant messaging, email, to more infrequent use, actually speaking. Personally, texting is my least favorite as I have discovered that the exact meaning of a text can sometimes be misconstrued or even simply lost in translation.
Dining experiences have changed drastically over the past decade. Social media almost requires people to provide an update as to where they are, who they are with and what they are eating. That being said, diners are often times taking and posting pictures of who they are with and what they are eating. This is great advertising for the restaurant, but can sometimes make a server’s night just that much more hectic. It is never a bother for me personally, as it is part of me creating the whole experience for my guests. However, when you have 10 tables throughout the course of an evening, and all 10 tables ask you to take pictures two or three times, that is when it can get hectic. I read an article recently about a longstanding restaurant in NY City that was getting several months of bad reviews. The reviews were not about the food, the drinks, or even service per say. Most of the reviews were complaints about the length of dining and service. The owners of the restaurant decided to do some investigating, and they scrolled through years of surveillance video of the restaurant. Using the past decade as their base, they noticed that the time between being sat to ordering, to actually eating in between picture taking and posting to social media sites, the time per each table had drastically increased to 40 to 60 minutes, PER TABLE. Now I am sure that this does not seem like a big deal, but I can assure you that in a busy restaurant, especially when you are on a wait and there are other guests waiting for tables, that this is an eternity.
There are also some aspects of technology and dining that have their pros and cons. For one, most babies and toddlers are easily amused with watching something on a tablet or smart phone, allowing their parents some conversation while enjoying a nice meal. I did however, have a five-year-old girl ask me once for the Wi-Fi password, which left me utterly speechless due to the fact that she was five and even knew what it was! One con that I have noticed, even one that I am guilty of, is a large table of six, whether it be friends or family, that are quite simply on their devices the entire evening without one word being uttered.
Please keep in mind as a blogger and professional server, these are just some personal thoughts and changes that I have noticed over the 21 years of being a server. In no way do I ever pass judgement about what is right or wrong or what is appropriate. Times are definitely changing, and it is up to us all to utilize these changes to the best of our abilities and what is most effective for our day to day lives. I look forward to seeing you all at Kres Chophouse, the best steakhouse in Orlando.
Ciao for now as always,