I’ll Have a Club Soda with Lime

Posted on December 6, 2011


When I dine out, sometimes I order club soda. The waiter or waitress will sometimes ask if I want lemon or lime, and I will ask for both. Or I will specifically order a club soda with lemon and lime.

I often have people ask for lime with their soft drinks. Water with lime, Diet Coke with lime, Iced Tea with lime. And when this takes place, it adds an extra step: a trip to the bar and to get a lime wedge from the bartender. Nothing tragic, just a little extra work which usually is not a big deal though sometimes it can slow service down a little.

I then remembered one instance when I dined out and it took forever to get my club soda with lemon and lime. And it could have been because I was adding an extra step for the waiter or waitress. And I thought to myself, had I known asking for lime could be a pain for the server, I may not have ordered it. However, as a waiter or waitress you cannot expect a patron to think that way.

Most restauarant patrons cannot distinguish a difficult request from a routine one. Some can, but most cannot. Most patrons simply want what they want. From their seat, they are thinking, “I will ask for this, because this is what they want.” Therein lies the need to treat special requests like routine tasks. If you can do something for a patron, then go ahead and do it. You cannot expect a patron to understand the details of your job.

I stopped asking for lime with my club soda. Sometimes I don’t order club soda at all. But there will still be patrons asking for things that involve extra steps. These requests need to be treated like every other request. If you can do something for a patron then go ahead and do it. And don’t forget to smile every once in a while as well.

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