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Perkins' policy troubles me.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My wife and I eat out quite frequently at a nearby Perkins. We often eat with friends, and everyone can get whatever they want at any time of day. And sometimes I like breakfast for dinner.

A few weeks ago our server brought us the bill and asked us to fill out their computer survey. It was a simple request, and I completed it upon arriving home.

When another server asked for the same favor, I got the inside scoop. Each server must get three surveys done per month, and every one of them must post a 100% score, especially centering on the "recommend a beverage" portion.

Failure to adhere to this means that some servers must attend an early Sunday morning "re-orientation class."

This is being done in Madison, Wisconsin. I've met with the area managers, and they agree, it's not a good way to motivate staff.

Is this being done in your area?
post #2 of 12
theory sounds good; implementation a bit heavy handed?...

being franchised, me bets the local management is behind it.

since the server is handing out the surveys, the whole thing is completely bogus anyway. if the server / kitchen / orange juice machine is having a bad day/hour/shift, why would you solicit a survey from a party you already know is unhappy....?

surveys only provide answers to the predetermined questions. stacking the deck is not especially difficult.

"Have you recently stopped beating your wife?"
a bit loaded, eh?
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I tend to agree. But there is another idea to consider. It's the idea in selling of "ups and adds."

We're all familiar with the catch-phrase, "Would you like fries with that?" I think the same deal is at work here--except the server is bearing the brunt.

If just a few people at your table order an unanticipated beverage, times tens of thousands of clients, the corporation makes millions.

It works. I bought a new ballistic nylon jacket from Harley this spring. Now granted, there are times when leather is too much and denim isn't enough. But I probably would not have gone off and researched that type of purchase if the idea had not been suggested.

But that idea should be promoted by the company in fliers and advertising, not borne by a server who fears a bad review. I believe it's a cheap shot.
post #4 of 12
>>cheap shot

well, perhaps not entirely. the server is an employee of the establishment, so if the management wants them to ask "would you like your fly dead or still swimming?" when somebody orders soup, I reckon the employee is obligated to carry out the task.

I don't have an issue with such 'suggestions' - it's like "would you care for a desert?"
I do develop issues when the server just won't take no for an answer...

if the server is "penalized" for insufficient customer purchases of upscale, that's dirty pool. rewarding the high performing upsellers - that's okay by me, but the server is not in charge of my tastes, preferences or appetite so penalties are quite inappropriate in my book.
post #5 of 12
Upselling is the norm and is considered part of the job, but I think a good server needs to be able to read the guest. Certainly if I say no thanks, nothing for dessert and the server tries to convince me, I'm going to get pretty angry.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #6 of 12
I agree. I waited tables for six or seven years, and generally had the highest guest check average wherever I worked. The secret is understanding the temperment of the guest and appealing to that. Some tables you don't bother at all, some get extra everything with a little flirtatious cajoling. Never, however, should the server push once the original offer has been declined.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, I have to admit that I wasted a good deal of my twenties in "diners, drive-ins, and dives." I've undoubtedly eaten many pies I didn't want to do a little schmoozing.

I guess my complaint is the environment in which this policy is displayed. Whether it's a server in a dive, or a maitre d' in a tuxedo, that employee is a representive of a business that exists to make money, and they should offer suggestions. Overall, I have no problem with that.

There's a line, and I wouldn't be comfortable if a sous-chef popped his head out of the kitchen to sell me a lottery ticket.

A "suggestion" for additional products should not be enforced with demerits on your livelihood. And knowing some of these young women, I believe this Perkins' policy crosses that line.
post #8 of 12
No this is not being done in my area but I think that is not a good way to really see if servers are good. I mean I get it if it's like once a year but every month seems a little silly. Plus having waitors ask their customers every time do this survey, most customers will not even do it. It does cross the line for waitors and waitresses because they do work hard and anyone can go on a take the survey as a joke and lie about everything and make that waitor lose their job. I do believe that it is a good idea every once in awhile but not by the computer, it just makes the waitor have to do even more.
post #9 of 12
Just at Perkins in my area . No survey.
post #10 of 12
I find the idea of upselling to be either very thoughtful or very annoying depending on the hows and whats. The worst possible scenario is if I'm going to a restaurant already knowing what I'm going to eat and then the servers goes through this extensive litany of drink, appetizer, and entree specials without asking me if I even want to hear the specials. And on days I'm busy trust me, I have no patience for it. If on the other hand a server asks me if I want to hear the specials then 9 times out of 10 I'll listen.

There is only one way to guarantee servers to give you dessert and that's to bring by a dessert tray - most of the time I cave in and point to what my taste glands salivate over.

The idea of little pre-rehearsed speeches, online surveys hold little value to me and I tend to avoid franchise restaurants because of this.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #11 of 12
Why not return the survey with a note to management, rather than answering the survey questions?

That is what I would do.
post #12 of 12
No this is not being done in my area but I think that is not a good way to really see if servers are good. I mean I get it if it's like once a year but every month seems a little silly. Plus having waitors ask their customers every time do this survey, most customers will not even do it. It does cross the line for waitors and waitresses because they do work hard and anyone can go on a take the survey as a joke and lie about everything and make that waitor lose their job. I do believe that it is a good idea every once in awhile but not by the computer, it just makes the waitor have to do even more.
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