"How are you this evening?"

Recently, I wrote a skill focus post on the importance of developing a positive rapport with your guests.  In the post I emphasized the importance of letting the guest know that you liked them.  Remember that one of the easiest ways to make someone like you is to let them know that you like them.  In the following days, something strange happened at work.  The Groupons that we had sold as a restaurant approached their expiration date.  I was inundated with tables that tested my patience in every way. 

I almost always like my guests and have no problems displaying that.  Many of the guests that flooded our restaurant in the days prior to their Groupon expiring were not particularly likable.  This breed of procrastinators was out for a bargain and not a dining experience.  I had just written about the importance of liking your guests and began feeling like a hypocrite.  To fight this off, I sat down and wrote out a list of ten reasons to like even the most difficult guests.  I am providing it today as a handy reference for the next time you face a challenging table.

1) They had the class and distinction to choose to dine at the restaurant you had the class and distinction you chose to work at.

2) They tip better than an empty table.                        

3) Their attitude often leads to them getting bad service.  This is a great opportunity to blow them away with your service.

4) There is probably a reason they are in a bad mood.  Show them the grace you want to be shown on your bad days.

5) If you impress them, you will have earned very rare praise.

6) There is good karma in being nice to those who are rude.

7) This is a chance to practice your skills on a discerning critic.

8) Your attitude could help turn theirs around.

9) They could make for a great story after work.

10) There is an ornery sort of pleasure in being nice to someone who insists on being rude.

The fact of the matter is that no amount of rudeness is worth losing your job over.  Being rude back will hurt you more than it will hurt them.  Avoiding the table simply gives these guests more to complain about and leaves you with less defense to those complaints.  Everyone has bad days and rude guests.  The only way to survive in this business is to try to keep them happy and not let them take you out of the game.

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