Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cantina Laredo: A Textbook Example of Service

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 6:13 AM

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A while back, I got an email from a reader who was irate about being asked to vacate her restaurant table after her group had finished their (very expensive) meal but was still enjoying cocktails. The restaurant was crowded and the server explained that her party would have to move. Now.

The subject stirred a lot of conversation among Bites readers, and while there was some sympathy for a server trying to accommodate a lot of people on a busy night, everyone generally agreed he handled the situation ungracefully.

Just how should that situation be handled? Ask the staff at Cantina Laredo, the new Mexican restaurant in the Gulch.

I dined there with a group on Saturday, when the restaurant was packed. We finished our meal, paid the bill and were lingering over our last sips of margarita and picking the cilantro from our teeth, when the manager approached our table. He greeted us very warmly, inquired about our dinner experience, then broke the news to us ever so gently:

"I just want to let you know that in a few minutes I'm going to bring a reservation for 60 into this room. I'll need this table, but I hate disturbing you. Could I ask you to join us at the bar for a free drink?" He reiterated that he hated to inconvenience us in the slightest but that, in the current market, he was in no position to turn down a group of 60.

Deftly handled, sir! Our table was far from insulted. We were already on our way out, there wasn't a chance in hell of us revving up again to take you up on that free drink, but you made us feel valued and even a little helpful.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is a fine example of customer service.

How was the food at Cantina Laredo? Stay tuned. We'll get to that later.

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