GUESTS WHO DO COME BACK

About the various customer types and their motives.

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A few years back I had two customers, Dick and Harry, who used to sit in my station and followed me from the Old House to La Scuola and to Triples restaurant, as I changed employers, they changed eating places.

GUESTS WHO DO COME BACK
There are several types of customers. For example the ones who come back, no matter what, to say “Hallo, holla, hello” to their favorite waiter. I call them “type I.”

Sandra, who wrote and even sang the praise to the waiter for me, belongs into type a. Of course I love her dearly as a guest and great person. She enjoys her food, at the restaurant, the most if I wait on her. She brings her husband and friends for she knows that I shall provide the best service she or her family could get any place in town.

Type II are those people who try as many restaurants as possible. They are the group who never visits an eating establishment twice, unless they run out of new restaurants to visit.

Type III are the guests who, after experiencing a hectic dinner session in a little restaurant somewhere at the end of a back-alley, without any rhyme or reason come back for seconds the following night. The y are the hardy ones who return never mind lukewarm food on cold plates. This type III are customers who, in spite of not so fond memories and food being served by a foreign waiter with a language-barrier, knowingly being overcharged at least an extra twenty- percent on their guest check, still come back. Type III is the curious type and always goes back to the scene of an uneventful dinner just to see if it is really as lousy as the memory says.

Type IV are customers who return due to the advertisement and favorable write ups in newspapers and magazines to see if the article they read matches with any true to life dining expectation.

Type V returns to places of a past journey not so much for the sake of food, drinks or service, but to refresh old memories. Type V revisits meaningful places, historic buildings, sites and milestone in their own life’s wake. Type V person needs such to dream his/her own dream. Take Howard, who thirteen years ago kissed his present wife the first time on this restaurant’s patio. He doesn’t remember that the food took over two hours to arrive cold at his table. He remembers they had two bottles of wine before the food arrived. Still fresh in his memory is how she kissed him deep, over and over. Just around the time when the waiter brought their plated food, she said “Yes” to his proposals, as long he would marry her.

Theo is another guest who will never forget his evening at Triples. Unforgettable is his experience of a blue moon. The waiter had pointed out to them that it was a blue moon night. Theo who was dating the woman, today his wife, recalls their touching, while watching the moon climbing up between the bushes.
Theo will never forget how beautifully she looked in the indirect lighting and the fireplace’s flames licking away on their own shadows. His Romie has never looked better. Theo remembers holding and kissing her. Six years later, she still insists that it was this blue-moon-night when he made all his promises, the ones he has not yet fulfilled, like buying her an ostrich size diamond, taking her on a vacation into space, and going on a cruise around the world in a small sailboat as well as his guarantee to make love to her nonstop for a week. Theo has no clue what they ate then. But he comes back, once a year, to visit this, for him, most memorable place. This was the place where his Romie actually fell in love with him.

Type VI customers are fans, followers of a certain staff member. We also have a single customer who has been following this one waitress for many years. He has only eyes for her and every year on Valentine’s Day he sends her roses. She says, “Monthly, as regularly as the menses, I turn him down!” This waitress, she laughs, talking about him, who is in his late seventies. She herself is not a day older than twenty-five. The way she sees it: “I don’t mind that he doesn’t stop following me, he is a sweet man and a good tipper all right.
I too had some following. A few years back I had two customers, Dick and Harry, who used to sit in my station and followed me from the Old House to La Scuola and to Triples restaurant, as I changed employers, they changed eating places. Their routine was to tell me how bad every restaurant in town was run.
Neither Dick nor Harry ever said a good word about any of our competition. They knew exactly which buildings were going to collapse from termite attacks next, in whose store rooms the largest rats vacationed and what size the cockroaches in the kitchens of local famous restaurants were. None of the buildings which Dick or Harry had described as beyond repair, terminal infested with termites, has shown any signs of problems to my eyes.
I was afraid to ask what they might have been saying about us while dining somewhere else. I listened to whatever they had to say and shined it on until one day. That’s when I told them about this one absolutely marvelous place they had to try. I send them both to a newly opened “dive” with tourists standing in line to get in, all waiting to see the owner, a famous celebrity. I told them how great the place is. Since that day I have not seen either one of the two. And I have missed neither Dick nor Harry, one bit.

by helmut schonwalder