Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No Beer for You? Customer Service...what should we expect?

I recently did a personal ranking of local Philly bars for someone who is putting together some composite rankings. It brought me back to my thoughts on where service should rank in determining the overall greatness of a bar. It also reminded me of my own thoughts that I shared with you last month about Toronado in San Francisco; I touched lightly on my thoughts of their consistently, uh, gruff service. Recently, Jay over at Hedonist Beer Jive, world traveler but based in San Francisco, broached the topic and gave his own take---a local's take on the venerable beer bar by the bay. It's interesting to compare thoughts between a local (like Jay) and a visitor (like myself) when it comes to opinions of establishments with reputations bigger than themselves. Go give it a read. It's to the point and thought-provoking........done? Now that you're back, what do you think? Can a beer bar survive with a customer service approach that borderlines on non-existent? Does it matter to you? Is this sort of thing like a game to see who can push each other farther in the short-term relationship...the customer or the service provider? Should establishments pride themselves on a locals/insiders-only type approach to dealing with customers? Do the customer service models of The Soup Nazi on TV or Pat's Steaks in real life South Philly or Toronado in San Francisco (and numerous other places of the ilk) add to the allure of an establishment? Does some part of psyche enjoy being battered by indifference and borderline rudeness? Do I/we ask too much? When you get back more than you get taken from, is that enough to compensate for substandard customer service? Or maybe we should start by defining exactly what is customer service?


Scoats said...

I think if a place treats you like crap, you should spend your money elsewhere.

kmudrick said...

I think a certain bar around here (can't count how many threads on beeradvocate there have been) has some similar service complaints and they seem to be thriving.

So, yes, I think they can survive.

Personally, I don't think it would stop me from going to special events and the like. But when I get a spur of the moment itch to go to a bar, it is almost always someplace with *stellar* service - (SPTR and Memphis Taproom come to mind)

Anonymous said...

I immediately thought of that "certain bar" as well.

Do we still go? Yes.

Did we love the beer week dinner they had? Yes.

Do we go there anywhere near as often as we go to Memphis Taproom, Local 44, Pistolas, Tria (or in the burbs, TND, TJs, TDR Exton, Capone's)? Nope.

Does it seem to have any impact? Also, nope. Like Toronado, if you're not from here, it's the one legendary place you've heard of. They can rest on those laurels for quite some time, I think.

Jay H. said...


Interesting. I somehow missed your Toronado experience when I posted about mine (and others'). I would have added yours to the list for sure. I appreciate the link.