For Restaurants, Guest Relations Should Be Square One

Written By Scott Joseph On March 24, 2016

Square 1 logoThis was meant to be a review of Square 1 Burgers & Bar, a new Winter Park location for a burgery out of Tampa.

It is not a review, at least not of the food, because when I visited the new restaurant on the corner of MInnesota Avenue and Orlando Avenue, I ended up leaving without eating. Actually, I left without ever having been greeted. To me, sitting and waiting 15 minutes for someone to come by, even if it’s just to say in passing, “I’ll be right with you,” is too long. Two minutes is too long. Especially in a restaurant not even 25 percent occupied.

And all the while I waited, the hostess who had seated me walked past several times. It was at the 14:30 mark that I finally flagged her down and asked if there was anyone available to take my order. “Yeah, I just said something to her,” she vagued with a slight nod to the kitchen door. Then she walked away.

No, “I’m very sorry for your wait,” or, “Can I take your drink order in the meantime?” or even an offer to pour a glass of water.

After the next 30 seconds I realized that my mouth was agape at the complete lack of customer care, so at that point it didn’t matter if the “her” the hostess had referred to suddenly materialized in a puff of smoke. There was little she could do to turn the sour situation sweet. I figured I’d better return another time. It may be a while.

Maybe I was being ignored because I was a single diner. Or because I had refused the first table I was shown to, which was behind a four and a half foot wall that separated the banquette from the bar area, cutting off any view. Perfect if you’re having an affair and don’t want to be seen, but terrible if you enjoy seeing other people or have a deep-seated phobia of the claustro variety. (Other than that seriously bad design flaw, the place looks comfortable and open, with an outdoor dining area on the other side of the central bar in the main dining space.)

The first of the declarations in the restaurant’s Mission Statement includes the line “Consistently exceeding customer expectations by making them our primary focus.”

To do that, you’ll need to revisit the basics of guest relations. I suggest you begin at square one.

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