So what's up with customer service these days, specifically in the restaurant industry? I realize that as a single diner who's ordering his dinner at the bar, I'm not going to be your cash cow for the evening. But that's no reason to provide second-rate service. If the meal is good and you make sitting in your establishment a pleasant experience, trust me: I'll take care of you -- I am a pretty generous tipper. But if you treat me like I'm a burden - like my waitress at a Louisville steak house the other night who wouldn't make eye contact with me, served my salad without a fork and knife, and then took five minutes to bring utensils to me - it's going to be your loss.
So all I ask is for a genuine smile, some eye contact, and maybe a "Hey, is everything OK?" or "Is there anything else I can get you?"
A quick story: I was at the Las Vegas airport last month, and had about 45 minutes before I had to be at the gate for my flight to Boston. I went to California Pizza Kitchen, where I grabbed a spot at the bar and ordered a small pizza and a beer. Fifteen minutes later, I asked the waitress how much longer it would be before I got my lunch. "You never ordered a pizza," she said dismissively. When I told her that I did, indeed, ask for a pizza - from her - she said, "Well, I don't have any record of that order." Period. Not, "I'm sorry, can I put in another order for you?" or "Sorry for the mix-up, can I get you a beer on the house?" or "Sorry about that. What can I do to make this right?" So in the end, a $4.50 beer + a zero percent tip = $4.50.
If you get really bad service in a restaurant, do you still tip?