…a waiter either knows or he doesn’t know…
Tell me! Would you have someone more knowledgeable? Do you have a real waiter, not just another story-teller, who can take care of my table tonight?”
When training new waiters I try to emphasize that a waiter either knows or doesn’t know (See also the examples in DETAILS and BASICS). Guessing is not good enough if a customer has a specific question.
I remember a new waiter getting into deep water when he sold a “four-bean-soup” to a family of six. He had been asked by the host, “Waiter you are sure there is no pork meat in this soup?” The waiter answered quickly and with a great sounding expertise: “No Sir! It’s made with chicken stock, mir poix, four different beans and fresh herbs.”
The soup arrived and the guest’s concerns were awakened due to the strong smoked meat flavor and smell. The host called the manager over and politely inquired: “Tell me please! What kind of smoked meat is in this soup?” “Ham-hocks!” Came the answer. The wife of the family spit whatever soup she had in her mouth right back into the cup. The guest, with an unhappy voice, asked for the soup dishes to be removed at once. Then he advised the manager, “See, we don’t eat pork. That’s why I asked your waiter if there is any pork in the soup. This fellow gave me some spiel about chicken stock. Obviously he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Tell me! Would you have someone more knowledgeable? Do you have a real waiter, not just another story-teller, who can take care of my table tonight?”
The manager himself waited on this customer’s table this night to make sure no further glitch could happen. In this case the waiter lost not only the tip from the table but also his job. The customer in question was a major shareholder of the very same restaurant group.