This piece is from my column for Shafer Bird regarding my opinions of the service in the Richmond restaurant scene.

Salty Sam: “The Lost Art of Restaurant Service”

Words by Sam Isaacs

Eating out is awesome. Getting served something (hopefully) delicious while enjoying the company of friends or family can be a refreshing and fulfilling experience.

With that being said, one of my biggest gripes with the restaurant scene in Richmond is people giving establishments way more credit than they deserve. Yes, some of the places here make really incredible dishes, but the food is only a part of what makes a restaurant great.

When eating out, particularly at more upscale places, one of the reasons why the prices are so high is that you as the customer are also paying for the name and the experience. With that being said, do not accept and make excuses for mediocre service, or a dirty restaurant.

The service and atmosphere are just as important as the overall food when dining out and should be taken just as seriously. I’m not saying walk into a place and treat everyone horribly, but as a paying customer you are owed great service and a good atmosphere.

Too many times in this city have I been served food by someone who looks like they could care less whether I live or die when I walk out the door or other times, eaten at a place with a filthy dining room and borderline inhumane bathroom. There is one phrase that I hear all the time that makes my skin crawl, “Well it’s good for Richmond.”

What does that even mean? Why can’t something just be universally good? Getting mediocre treatment from a wait staff and eating off filthy plates on a dirty table in a disgusting restaurant does not make the place “chic,” “urban” or “cozy.”

As a college student, every penny to my name is precious and if I am going to give my time and money to a business then I expect to be treated like a guest and be comfortable while doing so. There is no reason why you should accept anything less.

On the contrary, if you do run into a great server, always tip well and personally let them know that you enjoyed their service. As one of the most thankless jobs out there, a few extra dollars and kind words go a long way.

So get out there, explore all of places Richmond has to offer and make sure never sell your dining experience short.

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