What changes average, normal service into exemplary, excellent service?
Initiative and thoughtfulness.
I have recently come back from a trip to Melbourne and one of the biggest things I noticed over there was how good the table service was at restaurants and cafes. Most of the time I’m at a restaurant I never think ‘wow the service is so good’, its rarely ever memorable (which probably contributes to my lack of tipping and continued bafflement at American tipping culture*). However over in Melbourne at certain places I spotted the little things, those things that I had only experienced at Restaurant Amuse.
At Seven Seeds, we were served a filter coffee from the menu and without even asking the waiter brought us an extra cup for us so we could share it. I’m guessing he saw us sharing the espresso and took the initiative. I was quite impressed, normally I always have to bug them for another cup (and i did at other places). Its those little things that make the difference. At Chin Chin I was looking at the menu (its a flat A3 sheet menu on the table) and as the waitress put the cutlery and plates on the table, she placed the plate just above to menu so I could keep reading, instead of prompting me to pick up or move the menu, she just worked around it. The little things. Also quite a few of the restaurants don’t always put a bottle of water on the table and the waitstaff will usually come around periodically to fill up your glass. I rarely had to ask at those restaurants in Melbourne, unlike when I went to Nobu where I always had to ask.
Didn’t even have to spend $100+ (unless you bought alot of alcohol), usually only spent $50-60 and you get some of the best food and service in Australia. But with service like that, I definitely wouldn’t have a problem tipping. Thankfully Australian waitstaff are paid well and it isn’t in our culture to tip.
*Yes I know American waitstaff are underpaid