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“Yes, you’re the customer but you’re not always right” says Ubiquity’s Joel Jelen in his latest blog on the hospitality and food & drink scene.

“Yes, you’re the customer but you’re not always right” says Ubiquity’s Joel Jelen in his latest blog on the hospitality and food & drink scene.

If you’re going for a drink or dining out in Liverpool this weekend, i hope you won’t be sitting there in your favourite haunt thinking ‘the customer is always right.’


I spend many hours a week in hospitality and experience-driven businesses mostly meeting with clients in these industries. And when i haven’t got my ears pinned back listening to them, i’m relaxing (maybe with a vegan brownie), observing and listening on my own, to the general public at large.

It’s quite an eye and ear opener.

It was Harry Selfridge of Selfridges fame who helped popularise the phrase ‘the customer is always right’ but i’d argue his point is no longer in fashion or appropriate!

Hear me out…

I’m always mindful of what it’s like, especially in cafe’s restaurants from the staff’s point of view, especially in peak periods from breakfast through until dinner (or tea as Northerners call it).

So guess what…

I had some anonymous conversations over some dinner with managers working in ten different companies and here are the most popular responses on how to be a good customer:

1, Don’t talk on your phone while someone is taking your order. It’s a two-way relationship and he or she wouldn’t do it to you.

2, Please ask about menu items once your guests are all seated if you’re in a big party, rather than ask the poor waiter/waitress to repeat over and over as they trickle in. It’s the wrong way to start the evening.

3, Don’t get personal with members of staff, so you think you own him or her for the night. Nobody likes over-familiarity in everyday relationships and your waiter/waitress probably won’t appreciate it!

4, If you know the proprietor, just ask the waiter/waitress to pass on your regards to them in case they are present. Don’t play ‘Billy Big Biscuits’ sounding like you’re his or her best mate and are looking for special treatment or a discount. It’s embarrassing and won’t work. Anyway, if for example, the restaurateur was your best mate, he or she would have personally invited you.

5, If the restaurant has a ‘bring your own wine’ policy, ring in advance to check they don’t stock, e.g. your favourite New Zealand Marlborough. If they do, don’t bring it!

6, Move to pay the bill soon after receiving it and don’t hide it under the now empty plate of wedges or your bag. Don’t make it a treasure hunt. It’s degrading and makes it look like you don’t want to pay.

7, Tipping is your prerogative, but always do it in cash. Ten per cent is sufficient and courteous, whilst beyond twenty per cent is entering into Billy Big Biscuits territory again.

8, Make the waiter/waitress feel appreciated not subservient (please don’t click your fingers!!) and that’s the key to a successful experience for all concerned!

No doubt it will be one of the topics of conversations at the launch this month of a new sector initiative I’m involved in called Bread & Butter (rumour has it the name was conceived over a bowl of mushroom soup).

Have you been guilty of any of the above yet still think as the customer, you’re right? You can post your comments underneath the original LinkedIn post here https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6595940931055210496/

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